Question: Does a family history of an anxiety disorder increase the risk for my developing an anxiety disorder?
Answer: Having a family history of an anxiety disorder does, in fact, increase the risk of having an anxiety disorder.
Studies have shown that if a family member has panic disorder or generalized social phobia, that you are much more likely to actually have those corresponding conditions.
In addition, other studies have shown that generalized anxiety disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder also run in families.
With regard to post traumatic stress disorder, the story is a little more complicated. Whereas some studies have shown that post traumatic stress disorder does not run in the families, other studies have shown that it may in fact run in families.
When considering these data it's important for us to note that the methodologies that are used in family studies for anxiety disorders are not as precise as the methodologies that are used in studies on depression.