Both genetic and psychosocial factors appear to play a role in the initiation and expression of anxiety disorders.12 Moderate genetic risk has been documented for all anxiety disorders. Currently, no definitive gene or set of genes has been identified as being the causative factor for a specific anxiety disorder. It is unclear if anxiety disorders share common genetic risk factors. Genetic overlap may exist between GAD and PD and, to a lesser extent, SAD.12
Genetics may create a vulnerable phenotype for an anxiety disorder, and an individual's life stressors and means of coping with the stress may also play a role in pre-
cipitation and continuation of the anxiety disorder. Some researchers believe that stressful life events may play a strong role in the onset of anxiety disorders, especially 12
in GAD and PD. It has been reported that those experiencing one or more negative life events have a threefold increased chance of developing GAD.5 Similar findings
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