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Anxiety Disorders

Ask Dr. Dombeck
Ask Dr. Dombeck
Psychotherapy and Mental Health Questions

Is Anxiety A Hereditary Factor?

I believe that my 30 year old son is suffering from social anxiety disorder. I have struggled all my life with the symptoms which were treated with xanax and now effexor which has been very effective. My son lost his rental house after a roommate moved out and he was unable to to what was necessary to find someone else. He currently lives with his father and step-mother, and two babies, sleeping on the couch and seems very content. He is a college grad with great verbal skills, great sense of humor but stuck in a dead end public relations job that pays just over poverty level. He admits that he wants a change but can't bring himself to take action. He has never had a serious or even much of a non serious relationship with girl or even a male for that matter. His younger brother has a good job in Denver and has tried to get him to stay with him and look for work out there but again he finds excuses not to. He retreats into a world of books or on line chat rooms or the security of family. Only recently have I thought of his problems in terms of my own until I discovered the literature on a possible genetic component. I now believe that my father and sister also had the disorder. I have coped by using my spouses to help ease my way socially and focusing on my strengths and now the medication is enormously helpful. My question is what can I do to help my son explore this possibility? After the housing crisis his father got him to try therapy but he only went a few times and stopped. I worry about the depression that he admits to having sometimes and possible self-injury. It is so hard to see a bright intelligent child not live to his potential and to deprive himself of meaningful intimate relations. What is your opinion of the hereditary factor?

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