If you suffer from anxiety, there’s a pretty good chance other people in your family do as well. Scientists and doctors have long been aware of that fact, but new research shows that is might be directly passed down from generation to generation. In other words, if you have anxiety, your parents might be the cause.
The new study comes from the University of Wisconsin and focused on the heritability of anxiety and which parts of the brain are involved. The researchers conducted anxiety-inducing experiments on 378 rhesus monkeys and monitored their brain activity.
The results showed increased activity in two parts of the amygdala, where the brain processes fear and anxiety, in the monkeys who expressed the most anxiety. The scientists then looked at those monkeys’ lineage and discovered that their ancestors going back eight generations also elicited the same type of brain response. This led the researchers to determine that the anxiety may have been inherited.
The researchers believe that their study could eventually help with treatment for children who suffer from extreme anxious temperament (AT), which often leads to anxiety disorders later in life.