Things that may increase your risk of developing generalized anxiety disorder include:

  • Being female. More than twice as many women as men are diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder.
  • Childhood trauma. Children who endured abuse or trauma, including witnessing traumatic events, are at higher risk of developing generalized anxiety disorder at some point in life.
  • Illness. Having a chronic health condition or serious illness, such as cancer, can lead to constant worry about the future, your treatment and your finances.
  • Stress. A big event or a number of smaller stressful life situations may trigger excessive anxiety.
  • Personality. People with some personality types are more prone to anxiety disorders than are others. In addition, some personality disorders, such as borderline personality disorder, also may be linked to generalized anxiety disorder.
  • Genetics. Generalized anxiety disorder may run in families.
  • Substance abuse. Drug or alcohol abuse can worsen generalized anxiety disorder. Caffeine and nicotine also may increase anxiety.
Sep. 08, 2011