Can Anxiety be Genetic?

Ancient Reference

In this shloka, balanced and unbalanced state of mind is explained.

The subject of mind is anxiety (which can be thought of). A balanced state of mind leads to a healthy and disease-free life. Its unbalanced state causes distortion of mind and excellence.

(Reference: CharakSamhita (sutrasthan) Chapter-8 and shloka no.-16)

It is normal to experience occasional anxiety in our daily day to day life. But sometimes you experience anxiety which is persistent, overwhelming and uncontrollable. If it interferes with daily life then the individual may have an anxiety disorder.

As Per Ayurveda Aspect

Anxiety has not been properly mentioned in Ayurvedic textbooks but it can be correlated with mansikabhaav as well as mansikvikara or vyadhi.

In this disease, the vata and pitta dosha get vitiated. These vitiated doshas get accumulated in the sanghyavaha and manovehastrotas which lead to the alteration of the sense organs which stimulates the sense organs to indulge in the respective sensual perceptions. At last, the mind loses its normal perception which results in anxiety.

As Per Modern Aspect

Anxiety is a serious medical condition-just as real as diabetes or heart disease. It is the most common mental disorder in today’s lifestyle. It is an emotional state experienced in anticipation of a potential future threat.

What are the Causes of Anxiety?

Anxiety may be caused due to the physical as well as mental conditions, effects of drugs or a combination of any of these two factors.

Some common causes that may relate to the mental conditions

  • Panic Disorder: This includes shortness of breath, palpitation or feeling of rapid heartbeat, dizziness.

These above symptoms are also caused due to the consumption of coffee, abnormal heart rhythms, and other heart-related disorders.

  • Phobic Disorders: During this attack, the person may experience chest pain, sweating, and palpitations (heartbeats may be irregular or strong). Sometimes the person may also have a feeling of a heart attack.
  • Stress Disorders: Anxiety disorders (Generalized): Unrealistic worry or tension without any reason.
  • Phobias: Fear from a specific situation, animal or any object such as flying or heights.

Some other external factors that can cause anxiety are

  • Stress from school or at work
  • Stress due to the bad financial condition
  • Stress in a personal relationship
  • Emotional trauma due to the death of a loved one
  • Serious medical illness or disorder
  • Side effects due to the overdose of medications
  • Lack of oxygen in various conditions such as pulmonary embolism, emphysema or due to high altitude sickness
  • Use of illicit drugs like cocaine
  • Symptoms related to medical illness such as hypoglycemia, heart attack, etc.

What are the Symptoms of Anxiety?

Some generalized symptoms include

  1. Fear and panic attacks
  2. Uneasy feeling
  3. Sleep-related problems
  4. Unable to stay calm and still
  5. Shortness of breath
  6. Tingling sensation or numbness in the hands and feet
  7. Shortness of breath
  8. Palpitations of heart
  9. Dryness in mouth
  10. Dizziness
  11. Tensed muscles
  12. Nausea or vomiting

How to Diagnose Anxiety?

Anxiety can be challenging to identify accurately because it is an emotional state that every individual experience from time to time in response to the stress of the daily’s lifestyle. But in the moderate stage, anxiety can be quite helpful as it motivates us to get things done or responds to the threats for safety.

It can be diagnosed when anxiety crosses a threshold of excessiveness and stays up for a longer period. Symptoms of anxiety make it challenging for the individual to fulfill the daily needs or responsibilities which may cause strain in relationships, or may cause problems at school or work.

Can Anxiety be Genetic?

In most cases, the genetic cause of anxiety is likely to be an on/off switch than the other complicated mixed genes that increase the risk of developing anxiety. Researchers have stated that 30 to 40 percent of the variability is related to genetic factors.

Studies have shown that anxiety mostly develops before the age of 28 and his/her close relatives are likely to have anxiety. The genetic traits that are responsible for the anxiety have been found in those people if they both have twins and may have a greater risk for the panic disorder if a first-degree relative has this problem.

Experts believe that generally genetic factors include the family and twins but the involved genes may modify the emotional responses in a way that may lead to anxiety. It any of the two individuals have a similar mixed gene, whether they develop anxiety or not, could depend upon the various environmental factors.

Some Preventive Tips To Reduce The Effect Of Anxiety On The Brain And The Body

  • Trim the hectic daily life schedule: Avoid those activities that don’t give you relaxation.
  • Limit the intake of alcohol, caffeine-containing products and sugar.
  • Take time for yourself every day. Relaxation of 20 minutes can be restorative and decrease the anxiety level.
  • Do proper care of your body by eating a properly balanced diet. Also, include multivitamin supplements in your daily needs.
  • Rank yourself on a 1 to 10 scale and note down the events when you feel
  • Do yoga and meditation regularly (also include pranayama).
  • Take proper sleep
  • Take breaks from work and maintain a balance between fun activities with responsibilities.
  • Take spas and other relaxing baths.
  • Press the pressure points that give soothing effects.
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Dr. Vikram Chauhan (MD-Ayurvedic Medicine) is an expert Ayurveda consultant in Chandigarh (India). He has vast experience of herbs and their applied uses. He has successfully treated numerous patients suffering from various ailments, throughout the world. He is CEO and Founder of Krishna Herbal Company and Planet Ayurveda in Chandigarh, India. He researched age old formulas from ancient Ayurvedic text books to restore health and save human beings from the worst side-effects of chemical-based treatments.