Panic and Anxiety Disorder: Where Do They Come From?

Have you often wondered where your panic and anxiety disorder comes from? Even if you suffer only from mild anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety or anxiety stress disorder, I suspect like most of us, you've puzzled over the source of your problem. 

There has been research done that concludes we inherit our anxiety problems from our parents, genetically. Others disagree and tell us we cause it ourselves. Then there's the age-old argument we used to hear so often regarding personality and character traits in general: Nature or Nurture. Was it in our genes or is it due to conditioning?

If it's true that we are born with a predisposition to anxiety, that would mean that one or both of our parents have anxiety issues. And if that's the case, then undoubtedly they would also condition us - teach us through their actions and thinking - to be anxious as well. For example, the over-protective mother who freaks out when her son climbs a tree in the backyard; the boy "learns" that both he AND his mother will likely die (or some other dire consequences) if he climbs it again. Like it or not, this lesson sticks.

The point is, whether you inherit a genetic predisposition or not, a parent with anxiety issues is going to pass it along. It's also possible that a parent or parents who DON'T have anxiety issues could have inadvertently caused yours. 

Parental Causes of Panic and Anxiety Disorder

Following is a list of parental qualities that could cause kids to grow up to be anxious adults (or caused childhood anxiety that doesn't go away as we grow up):

  • Overbearing parents
  • Over-protective parents
  • Parents who aren't good at giving their kids approval
  • Parents who demand perfection in their kids in any way
  • Negative-thinking parents
  • Unforgiving parents
  • Unaffectionate parents
  • Parents who don't let their kids know they're loved
  • Abusive parent
  • Parents stressed out over money, job or marriage issues
  • Neglectful parents
  • Alcoholic parent

Perhaps the harshest reality of the above issues is that whether we want to admit it or not, we tend to be like our parents in many ways, even when that's the LAST thing we want to put our own kids through. That's food for thought.

Other Childhood Issues That May Have Caused Your Anxiety Disorder

And there are other childhood circumstances that can also cause anxiety disorder in children that carries over into adulthood:

  • Parents splitting up and the child blaming him or herself for it
  • Growing up with a single, working mother
  • Father being gone a lot, due to work or any other reason
  • And I hate to have to add this one, but both parents working outside the home so the kids don't get the nurturing they need
  • Demanding or intimidating teachers
  • Being the target of bullying by other kids

These are just partial lists but you get the idea: None of these are intentional, no one WANTED to give you anxiety disorder. But if you find yourself in any of the situations listed, that might be the cause of your anxiety issues.

Now, you may not like what I'm going to say next but it has to be said:

At the end of the day, does it really matter who or what caused your anxiety or panic disorder? I don't think so. After all, we can't turn back the clock and change anything that happened years ago. And besides, the more you focus on your anxiety and its causes, the more anxious you'll feel. No, what matters now is that you - and ONLY you - can do something about the way you feel. 

The tools are available to you and all you need to do is apply them. Do it now! And maybe you can prevent having your kids - if you have any or plan to - from "inheriting" your anxiety or panic disorders.

For information on the coaching program I recommend (and I've used it), the Easy Calm Video Coaching Series, go to my recommendation page. 

To your recovery,


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