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Anxiety Disorders, OCD & PTSD A forum to discuss Anxiety, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Panic Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Simple Phobias, and Social Anxiety Disorder

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  #1  
Old 11-18-17, 02:06 PM
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Can anxiety be inherited?

I'm trying to understand anxiety more and it's all so confusing. I've never thought of it as having a genetic component, but from my life experiences, it seems like it can. I believe I was born with anxiety, since I have had the symptoms since at least toddlerhood. I also believe my daughter was born with it, like she inherited it from me, since she has also always been highly anxious since she was a baby. I assume since I'm taking an SSRI for my anxiety, that it's like ADHD where your brain is formed differently and there is a lack of Serotonin in the brain? I don't know if this makes any sense or if I'm just stupid. It seems like everyone on here knows so much more about this stuff than I do and I don't know how a bunch of people with ADHD can keep all this information straight, it gets all jumbled in my mind.
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Old 11-18-17, 02:35 PM
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Re: Can anxiety be inherited?

I think it can, but I'm not a professional. Not sure any studies have been done
on this, but might google it.

Anyway, my mom had anxiety, my brother has anxiety, I have anxiety, my
little sister has anxiety. My daughter has anxiety. Both of my grandkids have
anxiety.

You can see why I think there may be an inherited aspect to anxiety, eh?
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Old 11-18-17, 04:36 PM
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Re: Can anxiety be inherited?

Current evidence suggests anxiety can be inherited genetically, epigenetically, and situationally.

Although some people respond to SSRI therapy with anxiolytic efficacy, anxiety is typically mediated by gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain.

The difference between SSRI response and lack thereof where benzodiazepene is efficacious in both cases may be explained by non-respondents' anxiety being biologically endogenous whereas the responders' anxiety is cognitively mediated.

SSRIs/SNRIs never did anything for my anxiety...though they did make me sick in various ways.

Benzodiazepenes, and Ativan (lorazepam) in particular, have been a godsend.


Cheers,
Ian
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Old 11-18-17, 05:23 PM
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Re: Can anxiety be inherited?

Quote:
Originally Posted by aeon View Post
Current evidence suggests anxiety can be inherited genetically, epigenetically, and situationally.

Although some people respond to SSRI therapy with anxiolytic efficacy, anxiety is typically mediated by gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain.

The difference between SSRI response and lack thereof where benzodiazepene is efficacious in both cases may be explained by non-respondents' anxiety being biologically endogenous whereas the responders' anxiety is cognitively mediated.

SSRIs/SNRIs never did anything for my anxiety...though they did make me sick in various ways.

Benzodiazepenes, and Ativan (lorazepam) in particular, have been a godsend.


Cheers,
Ian
It seems like most of what I have read about anxiety, only addresses it from a situational perspective, so I was wondering if I was way off in the thinking it could also be genetic.

It seems like a person could also have both genetic and situational anxiety? I think some of my anxiety has always been there, but environmental circumstances made it worse. If I read your post correctly, though, it seems like SSRI's shouldn't help if my anxiety is biological?
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Old 11-18-17, 05:25 PM
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Re: Can anxiety be inherited?

I think if you have a parent that's anxious, then you grow up picking up those behavioral traits. Your own anxiety can seem like the "norm", because it's what you were brought up with.
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  #6  
Old 11-18-17, 05:48 PM
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Re: Can anxiety be inherited?

Quote:
Originally Posted by WhiteOwl View Post
If I read your post correctly, though, it seems like SSRI's shouldn't help if my anxiety is biological?
I described a theoretical possibility. My sense is all people with anxiety have some degree that is cognitive in nature...and their response to SSRIs/SNRIs will vary.


Cheers,
Ian
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Old 11-18-17, 06:03 PM
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Re: Can anxiety be inherited?

I was diagnosed with anxiety 8 or 9 years ago. Started with Celexa which
worked great but caused non stop eating and weight gain. Switched to
Zoloft (generic Sertraline) and have been taking a small dose ever since.
The PA asked me a few months ago if I wanted to increase the dose. Nope,
I'm good, thanks, this dose is working fine.

Last year my daughter was dealing with other health issues and the topic of
anxiety came up with her doctor. She was prescribed the same medication,
Sertraline, and it's working pretty well for her too.

My granddaughter has autism and big-time anxiety. She was put on Risperidal
years ago, but developed type 2 diabetes so was switched to Lexapro. That is
working pretty well for her.
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Old 11-18-17, 09:18 PM
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Re: Can anxiety be inherited?

Quote:
Originally Posted by aeon View Post
I described a theoretical possibility. My sense is all people with anxiety have some degree that is cognitive in nature...and their response to SSRIs/SNRIs will vary.


Cheers,
Ian


this sounds right

if im not mistaken the current prevailing thought is that anxiety sensitivity is inherited as a constitutional difference in stress response

i think ADHD is one disorder that can come with this born difference, autism too

and i suppose plain old anxiety
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Old 11-19-17, 12:20 AM
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Re: Can anxiety be inherited?

i can't speak to general or social anxiety, but OCD, which is type of anxiety disorder, is shown to have a familial component.

"a family study of obsessive compulsive disorder" april 2000 found:
Quote:
Conclusions Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a familial disorder. Obsessions are more specific to the phenotype than are compulsions. Age at onset of OCD is valuable in characterizing a familial subtype.
an earlier study by the same investigators found:

Quote:
Evidence from twin and family studies suggests that OCD may be inherited.
epidemiology and genetics in obsessive compulsive disorder, 1997, published online july 2009

and, finally, the inheritance of obsessive compulsive disorder, 1999, has this abstract:

Quote:
The influence of genetic factors has been suggested from the earliest descriptions of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and a number of studies have been conducted to determine to what extent OCD is heritable. Evidence for the influence of genetic factors has come from twin and family aggregation studies. Furthermore, drug-treatment and functional neuroimaging studies have added strength to the genetic investigations by emphasizing the neurobiologic aspects of OCD.
since OCD is related to other types of anxiety, i think it's most likely the case that there's a heritable component to anxiety. i've had my strongest symptoms of OCD since childhood (intrusive thoughts, specifically), so it makes sense to me. and it makes sense that you would have anxiety from an early age and it would have a familial component.

i guess the question, for me, is what role growing up in my household with a mum with mental illness played in my developing OCD and a psychotic disorder. probably the psychotic disorder is genetic, but the OCD seems both genetic and environmental. and i think it's possible for someone to develop anxiety without a genetic predisposition, necessarily, but from life circumstances that reinforce certain types of thinking. like...i can imagine that an individual's phobia to x could be entirely environmentally initiated and then reinforced through experience and avoidance.

i hope that makes sense. good question
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Old 11-19-17, 07:47 AM
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Re: Can anxiety be inherited?

I believe it can be. I am convinced that because I was so stressed with a new marriage, and pregancy that somehow I caused stress to my unborn son which sort of preordained him to stress as a child and now adolescent.
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Old 11-19-17, 10:10 AM
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Re: Can anxiety be inherited?

I felt certain it was inherited after being diagnosed with it.

After living a lifetime of always having to hide my true feelings, never being allowed to speak of any mental health struggle, be it my own perceived ones at the time or the ones my sister was hospitalized with (thanks to not being believed about being sexually molested by a family member who later did the same to me), for repeatedly being told I simply needed to "straighten up and fly right", having an aunt who took her own life at the age of 64, etc. and seeing the obvious struggles each parent, grandparent, etc. also lived through....yep...must run in the family, for sure.

Then I also learned that genes aren't the only thing that gets passed along, so do all of our consumption habits and our overall beliefs, which also go a long way in potentially setting us up with various ills we experience in life, both physically and mentally.
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Old 11-19-17, 01:51 PM
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Re: Can anxiety be inherited?

Quote:
Originally Posted by peripatetic View Post
i can't speak to general or social anxiety, but OCD, which is type of anxiety disorder, is shown to have a familial component.

"a family study of obsessive compulsive disorder" april 2000 found:


an earlier study by the same investigators found:



epidemiology and genetics in obsessive compulsive disorder, 1997, published online july 2009

and, finally, the inheritance of obsessive compulsive disorder, 1999, has this abstract:



since OCD is related to other types of anxiety, i think it's most likely the case that there's a heritable component to anxiety. i've had my strongest symptoms of OCD since childhood (intrusive thoughts, specifically), so it makes sense to me. and it makes sense that you would have anxiety from an early age and it would have a familial component.

i guess the question, for me, is what role growing up in my household with a mum with mental illness played in my developing OCD and a psychotic disorder. probably the psychotic disorder is genetic, but the OCD seems both genetic and environmental. and i think it's possible for someone to develop anxiety without a genetic predisposition, necessarily, but from life circumstances that reinforce certain types of thinking. like...i can imagine that an individual's phobia to x could be entirely environmentally initiated and then reinforced through experience and avoidance.

i hope that makes sense. good question
This is very interesting. I had never thought of OCD as being related to anxiety, but it makes perfect sense because the thoughts and the need to perform certain actions is driven by anxiety, right?

I think I had general anxiety from the earliest age I can remember, but the social anxiety seemed to start around middle school age. So, the social anxiety may be more due to environmental factors (verbally abusive father, being made fun of for saying/doing stupid things due to ADD, etc.). One of my earliest memories, was when I was a very young child and my parents were fighting. My dad was never violent, but the only instance I can remember where he did anything physically, was he splashed a carton of orange juice in my mom's face. I think I was only in kindergarten, but I remember it pretty vividly. I was hiding under the desk and scared. There were a lot of fights with yelling and cussing and when I was older, I had to take my little sister into another room and try to shield her from it all. My dad criticized everything we said or did, called us stupid, etc. I think all of that contributed to my anxiety.

I can't say with 100% certainty that I was born with anxiety, but it seems like I had nervous habits from the time I was a baby/toddler, before my dad even had time to ruin me. I not only sucked my thumb for most of my childhood, but I had this weird habit of holding a blanket and pulling the "fuzz" off of it. It somehow comforted me. Our house was covered in "fuzz balls" from me tearing blankets apart. I can't remember exactly what age I started doing that, but it seems like I always did it.

I don't think my mom has anxiety, but my dad has a whole host of issues and anxiety is probably in the mix. Family members on both sides of my family have anxiety and other issues.
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Old 11-19-17, 02:36 PM
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Re: Can anxiety be inherited?

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Originally Posted by sarahsweets View Post
I believe it can be. I am convinced that because I was so stressed with a new marriage, and pregancy that somehow I caused stress to my unborn son which sort of preordained him to stress as a child and now adolescent.
I've also wondered if having stress during pregnancy contributed to any of my kids' problems. I don't think I had any significant stress with my first two kids, and their personalities are like night and day, with my daughter having the most anxiety. With my last two kids, I had a period of significant stress at the beginning of both pregnancies. With #3, I became convinced I was going to have a miscarriage (I had had two previously) and I cried and grieved and was just an emotional mess, until I found out all was fine. With #4, I had my major anxiety attack over my marriage and the whole rest of the pregnancy was stressful because of issues with my other kids. But #3 and #4 are also different as night and day. #4 is super happy and easygoing. That's not to say he won't have anxiety in the future, but he doesn't show any signs of it early on, like with my daughter.

So basically, from my own experience, I don't think stress during pregnancy was a factor in any of their problems.
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Old 11-19-17, 08:56 PM
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Re: Can anxiety be inherited?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lunacie View Post
I think it can, but I'm not a professional. Not sure any studies have been done
on this, but might google it.

Anyway, my mom had anxiety, my brother has anxiety, I have anxiety, my
little sister has anxiety. My daughter has anxiety. Both of my grandkids have
anxiety.

You can see why I think there may be an inherited aspect to anxiety, eh?


I think you have to envision any form of psychopathology from a
biopsychosocial perspective
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Old 11-19-17, 09:25 PM
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Re: Can anxiety be inherited?

for me, personally, the intrusive thoughts aren't driven by anxiety necessarily, but they create a great deal of anxiety and it is anxiety about them that feeds my urges to do mental or physical compulsions to try and resolve them. they have made me struggle with agoraphobia for several years at a time in the past, which is also a type of anxiety and got me diagnosed with panic disorder with agoraphobia for a time.

wow! i'm so sorry you grew up in a hostile household. i, myself, did not. i do think it's possible that those who grow up in hostile environments are shaped by them and anxiety can result. but it's impossible for a non professional to really dig down and figure out what is the cause or causes of yours. it certainly seems to me that even if not caused by environment, having yelling/fighting parents and the stress that would bring a household can't've helped your situation.

it sounds like you were a very brave and thoughtful little girl trying to protect your sister. that your father harshly criticized you sounds like verbal and maybe emotional abuse to me. i suspect there's a very strong link between suffering abuse as a child and developing some type of anxiety.

with your parents having anxiety or not, just keep in mind things can skip generations and show up when least expected. there's a history of substance abuse (alcoholism, specifically) in my husband's family despite neither parent struggle with it and my husband also not. my brother-in-law, however, was a very high functioning very serious alcoholic who, when found out, had to detox for several weeks in the hospital. so...it could be somewhere or it could be the result of trauma and other things.

is your anxiety being addressed with medication and/or therapy? i have not only ADHD and OCD, but another diagnosis. and the latter two i'm currently treated for (i will be treated for my adhd again once i've been out of hospital and stable a minimum of six months...which is harder than you might imagine for me). anyway, for OCD and my other scene i take five medications and do weekly therapy plus i'm registered thrice weekly for group (that i'm not exactly obliged, but ideally/supposed to attend, but don't always). some are more helpful than others. but medication has absolutely reduced the amount of intrusive thoughts i have by at least 75%. which is huge for me because they are one of the things that give me suicidal urges when they're untreated.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WhiteOwl View Post
This is very interesting. I had never thought of OCD as being related to anxiety, but it makes perfect sense because the thoughts and the need to perform certain actions is driven by anxiety, right?

I think I had general anxiety from the earliest age I can remember, but the social anxiety seemed to start around middle school age. So, the social anxiety may be more due to environmental factors (verbally abusive father, being made fun of for saying/doing stupid things due to ADD, etc.). One of my earliest memories, was when I was a very young child and my parents were fighting. My dad was never violent, but the only instance I can remember where he did anything physically, was he splashed a carton of orange juice in my mom's face. I think I was only in kindergarten, but I remember it pretty vividly. I was hiding under the desk and scared. There were a lot of fights with yelling and cussing and when I was older, I had to take my little sister into another room and try to shield her from it all. My dad criticized everything we said or did, called us stupid, etc. I think all of that contributed to my anxiety.

I can't say with 100% certainty that I was born with anxiety, but it seems like I had nervous habits from the time I was a baby/toddler, before my dad even had time to ruin me. I not only sucked my thumb for most of my childhood, but I had this weird habit of holding a blanket and pulling the "fuzz" off of it. It somehow comforted me. Our house was covered in "fuzz balls" from me tearing blankets apart. I can't remember exactly what age I started doing that, but it seems like I always did it.

I don't think my mom has anxiety, but my dad has a whole host of issues and anxiety is probably in the mix. Family members on both sides of my family have anxiety and other issues.
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