Anxiety Disorders and Your Family

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If an anxiety disorder runs in my family, am I doomed to get it?

Patricia Farrell, PhD
No. Remember something. Anxiety is genetic, but it's also environmental. There is something that we call contagious anxiety.

Patricia Farrell, PhD (cont.)
In other words, you're a little kid, and you watch because you learn by watching, okay, vicarious learning, you watch, how does mom react to that? How does dad react to that? That's the way I guess I should. You model your behavior. You learn to be anxious, you learn to be helpless. You learn not to be able to cope. And you can unlearn it.

Patricia Farrell, PhD (cont.)
Just as well as you've learned it, you can unlearn it. And the first time that you show yourself that you can do something, don't forget to pat yourself on the back. Reward yourself, you see, you did it! You can do it again, alright, let's go! Be a rooter for yourself. Be a coach for yourself. Yes, you can do it. It doesn't mean you are doomed to a life of anxiety, you know. No, there are things that can be done.