Anxiety disorders can be genetic.
Anxiety disorders are caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Anxiety disorders tend to run in families, though it is unclear whether it’s due to genetics or the influence of one’s upbringing and family environment.
Most experts believe it’s possible to be genetically predisposed for developing anxiety. For an individual with this genetic predisposition, developing an anxiety disorder might depend on environmental risk factors and life experiences. Environmental risk factors include abuse, trauma, stressful life events, dysfunctional family relationships, lack of social support, low income, and poor health. In some cases, though, a person can develop anxiety without having any of these risk factors; in these cases, anxiety might be the result of an underlying genetic predisposition.
There is no single gene that makes someone more susceptible to anxiety. Rather, a combination of multiple different genes influences how likely a person is to develop anxiety at some point in life. Yet, just because an individual has a genetic predisposition for anxiety does not necessarily mean they will develop an anxiety disorder.
We can’t change our DNA, but we can learn strategies for coping with stress and seek professional treatment to help us overcome issues with anxiety.