Can Your Anxiety Get Worse?

Anxiety, according to the American Psychological Association, is a condition that’s characterized by “feelings of tension, worried thoughts, and physical changes like increased blood pressure.”

And much like other emotions such as happiness and anger, getting anxious is the body’s way of reacting to certain situations, specifically those that trigger stress

Still, it becomes a problem when it impedes daily life and leads to other issues such as substance abuse and depression. In fact, children who experience extreme anxiety are more likely to develop mental disorders as they age.

While it’s not possible to get rid of extreme bouts of anxiety, there are ways for patients to deal with this condition so they can function normally. Even so, is there a possibility for anxiety to get worse over time? 

Let’s investigate by getting to the root of the matter first:

What causes anxiety issues in the first place?

Anxiety can be caused by a number of factors that are not directly related to stress. For one, genetics can have a role in the development of anxiety disorders. German researchers have found that generalized anxiety disorder can be passed on at a heritability rate of approximately 30 percent. 

This is further supported by a study from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, although genetics is just a part of the equation. While personality traits that are inherited from one’s parents play a role in the development of anxiety disorders, the study points out that the environment has the most profound effect, although such an effect won’t last over time.

There is a need to assess these findings, but psychiatric professionals are definitely inching closer to treating anxiety disorders across different age groups. With that, there is also an opportunity to help patients who are exposed to stressful situations in the past or whose anxiety problems are inherited. 

Anxiety as the person ages

Answering the question ‘Can anxiety get worse over time?” is definitely a no-brainer. As we age, we become exposed to more stressful situations and environments, from managing taxes to chasing a deadline. Sure enough, different types of anxiety disorders occur during certain periods in life. According to this study, phobias are more common in children while post-traumatic stress disorder and panic attacks occur more frequently during adulthood.

Then again, the same Norwegian study above suggests that people who have inherited avoidant personality traits still have a high risk of experiencing social anxiety over time. Environmental factors may not necessarily make anxiety worse, but your genes can increase your risk of having bouts of extreme anxiety.

The good news

Despite these facts, anxiety disorders can still be mitigated regardless of their origin. Whether the disorder is caused by environmental factors or inherited, you can still overcome this condition and live life without fear through the help of psychiatric professionals. 

If you or someone you know experiences extreme bouts of anxiety, rest assured that it won’t get worse over time. So long as proper treatment procedures are followed, there will always be a sure-fire way to enjoy a more fruitful life.  

One thing’s for sure, Some of the most effective treatment options include supportive psychotherapy and intensive outpatient programs, both of which are available at MidCities Psychiatry. 

Give us a call at 817-488-8998 and see how we can help you or a loved one overcome anxiety. 

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