Risk Factors for Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
A risk factor is something that increases your likelihood of getting a disease or condition.
It is possible to have generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) with or without the risk factors listed below. However, the more risk factors you have, the greater your likelihood of developing GAD. Talk to your doctor about your risk factors.
Risk factors for developing GAD include:
Women are diagnosed with GAD twice as often as men. It may be tied to hormones, cultural expectations, and more willingness to visit doctors and talk about their anxiety.
Anxiety disorders may run in families. The risk of GAD may be higher if there is a family history of anxiety or mood disorders.
People with chronic illnesses have a greater risk of GAD.
History of Stressful Life Events
GAD may be more likely in those with history of:
- Traumatic event—physical or emotional
- Poor or oppressed
- Childhood abuse or neglect; exposure to parental abuse or drug use or physical discipline
- Divorce, separation, or being widowed
- Lower education level
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Last reviewed May 2020 by Adrian Preda, MD Last Updated: 7/29/2020