Anxiety Risk Factors
Several factors like stress, diet, trauma, genetics and gender can increase a person's risks for anxiety.

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Several factors can increase a person’s risks for anxiety. They include:


While everyone encounters stress, excessive stress, or allowing it to build up, can increase a person’s likelihood of developing chronic anxiety.


If someone in your family, especially a parent, has anxiety, you have a higher risk of developing generalized anxiety disorder.

Medical Conditions

Anxiety can be a symptom of something else, including depression and other mental disorders.

Substance Abuse

Caffeine, alcohol, recreational drug use, and other stimulating substances can lead to higher levels of stress and anxiety.


Some medications, especially those containing stimulants, like drugs to treat ADHD, can increase a person’s risk for anxiety.

Personality Types

Some people are more prone to anxiety. Busy, high-strung people (“Type A” personalities) are at higher risk of developing anxiety and stress-related disorders.


Enduring trauma, especially adversity or abuse as a child, raises a person’s risks of developing anxiety. This could include being a victim of abuse, or witnessing something traumatic, like a natural disaster or a scene of violence.


A life-altering medical condition, such as cancer, can produce anxiety over the future, regarding health or finances.

Being Female

Women are twice as likely as men to have general anxiety and other related conditions. 

Written by: the Healthline Editorial Team
Edited by:
Medically Reviewed by: Jennifer Monti, MD, MPH
Published: Jun 10, 2011
Published By: Healthline Networks, Inc.
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