Anxiety Disorders

Frequently Asked Questions

15. What increases my risk for developing an anxiety disorder?

Some factors that appear to be associated with an increased risk for an anxiety disorder in late life include being female; having several chronic medical conditions; being single, divorced or separated; and having less education.

Experiencing stressful life events, being physically limited in daily activities, and having had difficult childhood experiences also increase a person's risk for developing an anxiety disorder.

Having depression also increases a person's risk for an anxiety disorder in all age groups, although it is not clear whether the depression or anxiety usually comes first. Other medical problems such as stomach or digestive problems, hyperthyroidism, heart disease, respiratory problems, Parkinson's disease, balance problems, and diabetes also are associated with anxiety.