If I Have An Anxiety Disorder How Likely Is It That My Children Will Develop Anxiety Disorder As Well?

Dr. Whiteside answers the question: 'Passing On An Anxiety Disorder To Kids?'

ByABC News
April 15, 2008, 5:10 PM

— -- Question: If I have an anxiety disorder how likely is it that my children will develop anxiety disorder as well?

Answer: That's an excellent question. It's definitely true that children of parents who have anxiety disorders are more likely to develop an anxiety disorder themselves. In fact they're about three times at greater risk for developing an anxiety disorder. But it's important to remember that we as parents pass on anxiety disorders in a few different ways.

One, genetically, which is something that we can't control. But also through our actions. Children learn anxiety from their parents by seeing and observing what their parents are anxious about and what they may avoid because of anxiety. But also as parents we can help our children avoid anxiety, which avoid things that make them nervous, which can lead to greater anxiety and the development of anxiety disorders.

Also, although kids are at greater risk, still the majority of them do not develop an anxiety disorder. And the high estimates are about 50 percent of kids of children who kids of parents who have anxiety disorder will develop an anxiety disorder.

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