Part of the book: Different Views of Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety disorders are common; lifetime prevalence for the group of disorders is estimated to be as high as 25%. The main question is What is the relative contribution of genetics and environment to etiology of anxiety disorders? The anxiety disorders are not, from a genetic perspective, etiologically homogeneous. Structural equation modeling provides estimates of variance in liability to a disorder that is attributable to additive genetic, common familial environmental, and individual-specific environmental factors. Familial aggregation that largely results from genetic risk factors has been documented for all of the major anxiety disorders. Genes predispose to two broad groups of disorders dichotomized as panic-generalized-agoraphobic anxiety versus specific phobias. The candidate genes are the ones encoding the central and peripheral nervous system receptors and transporters. Trauma in childhood disposes to further anxiety disorders through the hyperactivity of the HPA axis and the hypersecretion of CRF. Traumatic experience in developmental age leads to neurobiochemical changes in brain, typical for panic disorder or PTSD. Behavioral inhibition in early childhood is a predictor of further anxiety disorders. Some types of parental behaviors and family environment can lead to them, as well as improper interactions between parents and child.
Part of the book: A Fresh Look at Anxiety Disorders