Is Anxiety Hereditary? 5 Ways to Break the Link Between Anxiety and Genes

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We knew family genes are to thank for our eye color and hair color. There are many factors that play a role in developing anxiety and research suggests one of these influences might be your genes.

So, is anxiety genetic? Here are 5 tips for biohacking your anxious genes.

Are You Born with Anxiety?

Unfortunately, we can’t just take a test and get a concrete anxiety disorder diagnosis. A doctor determines we have anxiety when we experience a specific case of symptoms.

These symptoms include:

  • Running Thoughts
  • Panic Attacks
  • Trouble Sleeping
  • Excessive Worrying 
  • Easily Agitated
  • Muscle Tension
  • Social Discomfort

We come into this world with little influence from the outside world. So, we don’t have anything that can cause us to become jaded.

The carefree nature of babies makes it challenging to determine if a child is experiencing anxiety. Their biggest concern is eating their next meal or when they’re going to play outside.

One study with 300 pairs of twins found that symptoms of panic disorders, a subset of anxiety disorders, can be present in children as young as 8 years old.

The analysis also noted that the average person who experienced lifetime Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) started showing symptoms around the age of 11.

Is Anxiety Genetic?

We’re going to discuss some ways to cope with your anxious genes and help you try to figure out how to resolve genetic anxiety. However, you need to understand what causes anxiety first.

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If you’re wondering if you can inherit anxiety, the short answer is “yes.” A 2015 study on GAD and twins found that the RBFOX1 gene seems to play a role in the augmentation of anxiety symptoms.

Experts hypothesize that RBFOX1 influences our gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA production). GABA promotes a calming feeling across the system that helps control the fear or anxiety experienced when neurons are overexcited.

That’s why many people who experience anxious genes find support with Tranquility Labs’ Tranquilene. This all-natural supplement contains GABA and other botanicals that help lower our stress hormones.

Are There Other Anxious Genes?

Since that breakthrough study, more genetic links to anxiety have become uncovered.

The following anxious genes have been scientifically linked to the corresponding anxiety disorders:

  • CRHR1 (Panic Disorders)
  • NPSR1 (Panic Disorders)
  • RGS2 (Panic Disorders)
  • ASIC1 (Panic Disorders, Social Anxiety Disorder)
  • OXTR (Social Anxiety Disorder)
  • SLC6A4 (Panic Disorders, Social Anxiety Disorder, GAD)
  • MAOA (Panic Disorders, Social Anxiety Disorder, GAD)
  • HTR1A (Panic Disorders, Social Anxiety Disorder, GAD)

Knowing the anxious genes is critical for finding a way to manage genetic anxiety. State-of-the-art technologies like CRISPR allow for gene coding editing. While science isn’t there yet, eventually, scientists might be able to cut anxious genes out of our family lineage. However, that might not solve the other issue that causes anxiety.

Is Anxiety Hereditary or Learned Behavior?

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According to one study involving monkeys, about one-third of gene variation caused by anxiety can be explained by genetics. Therefore, the bigger part of the factors are environmental.

The most effective way to find a cure for genetic anxiety is to determine what causes your anxiety in the first place.

Anxiety disorders can develop due to many environmental circumstances, including:

  • Learned behavior from a parent
  • A tramautaic event (Car Crash, Sexual Assault, Death in Family)
  • Side effect of drugs
  • Stress
  • Underlying medical conditions

The most common denominator in all of these anxiety triggers is family. As mental health disorders become more regular in households, children are learning these behaviors.

We picked up on the foot tapping and nail biting. Those quirks became our quirks. Knowing where these anxious behaviors came from is the first step to reclaiming our peace of mind.

Is There a Cure for Genetic Anxiety?

Currently, there is no cure for genetic anxiety. Even more importantly, there is no official way to confirm these disorders.

Doctors can have strong hunches and you can agree with them. Then, you just work on coping with this disorder and hopefully, rise above it.

Once the symptoms subside, you might not experience that level of anxiety again. In the end, you’re left wondering if you had a disorder or a rough patch.

What matters isn’t dwelling on the exact diagnosis. Instead, you need to focus on the symptoms and address them head-on.

Mental health is an evergreen process. We’re always going to have struggles that test our anxious genes. So, it’s important to put these fires out long before they start raging. Here are some ways we can deal with our anxiety.

1. Deep-Breathing Techniques

Anxiety causes us to tense up. We scrunch our shoulders to our ears and ball our hands up into a fist. This body language cuts off blood flow and oxygen, creating even more stress on our bodies.

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Next time you feel your anxiety rising, take a deep breath. Get a hold of your thoughts by paying strict attention to your breath.

Mentally think the words “inhale” as you draw fresh air into your lungs. Then think “exhale” as you empty everything out.

Try to elongate each breath. If your brain wanders, count along with the inhale and exhale lengths. Do whatever you can to marry your thoughts to your breath.

2. Say Bye to Stressors

Family is very important to a healthy lifestyle. However, even the best families can have some toxic members. It’s okay to put some barriers up to preserve your mental health.

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Before going to that extreme, try to have an honest conversation. Explain how that person might intensify your anxiety disorder. Having someone that cares about them offer such introspective insights might compel that person to make positive changes in their life.

Many of us want to avoid a confrontation. Then, create a little space. Limit your time spent with them or invite others who make you happy to join you both as a buffer.

Don’t feel selfish for taking some me-time. Sometimes taking a step back can actually strengthen the relationship in the long-run.

3. Exercise

Not only are you born with anxiety genes, but you might have a predisposition to obesity and heart disease. These are two of the top life-threatening conditions in the world. Luckily, one activity can lower the chances of obesity, disease, and anxiety — exercise.

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Exercise is the ultimate biohack for the body. Research shows that exercise can alter gene expression.

When we exercise, it produces chemicals that cause a process known as methylation. That’s when methane gases in our body interact with DNA, changing how our genes function.

One of the greatest mental health benefits of exercise is that it boosts endorphins in our body. These are happy chemicals in the brain. By getting our daily exercise in, we do everything in our power to fight our genetic predispositions.

4. Probiotics

Not only can you inherit anxiety, but your parents also pass on their stomach bugs to you. In fact, your mom’s gut bacteria help you produce your immune system cells. These cells, in turn, formulate your gut microbiome.

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Your gut expresses significant influence over our minds. Stomach bacteria influence your mood through a complex communication system known as the vagus nerve.

When your stomach is littered with pathogenic bacteria, these microbes negatively affect the vagus nerve. In turn, we experience bouts of anxiety.

Taking a high-quality probiotic can help bring the balance back to your gut microbiome. Beneficial bacteria help fight off inflammation, backs up your immune system, and fights off mood-changing bacteria.

Bacteria in probiotics supplements sometimes have trouble colonizing the gut. So, try adding probiotic foods to your diet, as well. Consume pickles, yogurt, and kimchi. Plus, try drinking some kombucha and kefir.

5. Go to Counseling

Our lives are so deeply intertwined with our loved ones. Sometimes you need a third party to put all of your anxious behaviors into perspective. Many of us at Tranquility Labs have seen benefits from seeking professional help.

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Therapists can help you see triggers in your everyday life that you’re turning a blind eye to. Plus, they can give you actionable advice for handling panic attacks and anxious thoughts as they pop up.

If your family members are causing anxiety, it might be helpful to bring them to counseling with you. That way, an unbiased person can guide you through an open discussion of your feelings. You might find out that your behavior is also having a negative effect on your loved one. In the end, this experience can bring you all closer together.

How to Break the Link Between Anxiety and Genes?

The world of genetic editing is still brand new. As science evolves, DNA editing might become the cure for genetic anxiety. In the meantime, you’re not doomed to a life of anxiety.

While there are genetic links to anxiety, they only make up one-third of what causes the average person to feel anxious. Most of our anxious behaviors are a result of environmental factors.

Focus less on if “is anxiety genetic?” Instead, work on the everyday factors that are easier to manage.

Nurture your social relationships. Clear your head with mindful techniques and counseling. Lastly, improve your health with exercise, probiotics, and all-natural supplements, like Tranquilene. All of these tips should help offset your anxious genes.

Key Takeaways:

  • There are many anxious genes that make us have a predisposition to anxiety.
  • Only one-third of our anxious genes are genetic.
  • Most of what causes anxiety are environmental factors.
  • Manage your health, social circles, and counseling as a way to manage genetic anxiety.
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