Risk Factors for Anxiety

There are biological and environmental risk factors for general anxiety disorder. GAD risk factors include the following:

  • Environmental stressors (e.g., work, school, relationships)
  • Genetics
  • Sleep deprivation, sleep inconsistency

Stressful situations in the following areas can intensify symptoms of general anxiety disorder:

  • Financial concerns
  • Health
  • Relationships
  • School problems
  • Work problems

Research has shown a 20 percent risk for GAD in blood relatives of people with the disorder and a 10 percent anxiety risk among relatives of people with depression. There also seems to be a correlation between GAD and other psychiatric disorders, including depression, phobia disorder, and panic disorder. Anxiety is a risk factor for sleep disorders such as insomnia.

Publication Review By: Debra Emmite, M.D.

Published: 02 May 2001

Last Modified: 01 Sep 2015