These factors may increase your risk of developing an anxiety disorder:

  • Being female. Women are more likely than men to be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.
  • Trauma. Children who endured abuse or trauma or witnessed traumatic events are at higher risk of developing an anxiety disorder at some point in life. Adults who experience a traumatic event also can develop anxiety disorders.
  • Stress due to an illness. Having a health condition or serious illness can cause significant worry about issues such as your treatment and your future.
  • Stress buildup. A big event or a buildup of smaller stressful life situations may trigger excessive anxiety — for example, a death in the family or ongoing worry about finances.
  • Personality. People with certain personality types are more prone to anxiety disorders than are others.
  • Other mental health disorders. People with other mental health disorders, such as depression, often experience anxiety disorder as well.
  • Having blood relatives with an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders can run in families.
  • Drugs or alcohol. Drug or alcohol use or abuse or withdrawal can cause or worsen anxiety.
Aug. 15, 2014