Answers to Common Depression and Anxiety Questions

Premier Health providers answer frequently asked questions about depression and anxiety.

Can anxiety be hereditary?

Dr. Heather Markwell discusses whether anxiety can be hereditary. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

Can anxiety be hereditary?

Anxiety can be hereditary. There are both environmental and hereditary factors that are at play for anxiety, but they have found a relationship between anxiety and depression as it pertains to one's genetics. There is a chemical in our brain called serotonin, it's kind of our happy hormone or the thing that helps us feel calm and relaxed. In the case of anxiety, it is normally too low. We've found that there are certain genetic risks for not processing serotonin appropriately or not making enough of it, both of which can lead to anxiety or depression. If you feel like you're having this problem, I suggest talking with your doctor.


One of the risk factors for developing anxiety is having a close biological relative who also has anxiety, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Though there is no specific proof that anxiety is hereditary, there is some evidence of familial tendencies, according to Premier Physician Network physicians.

So, while there is not proof of a hereditary connection, it could be a learned behavior a child picks up from adults in their environment, according to PHN physicians.

For more information about whether anxiety is hereditary, talk with your physician.

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Source: Joseph Allen, MD, Family Medicine of Vandalia; Chandan Gupta, MD, Monroe Medical Center; Anessa Alappatt, MD, Fairborn Medical Center; Heather Markwell, MD, Premier Health Family Medicine