Anxiety is a complicated condition. It can come on at any time in your life and there are a ton of different things that could potentially trigger it or cause you to develop it in the first place. Childhood experiences affect you later in life in many different ways, and you may have heard that things that happen to you earlier in life can affect your anxiety and similar conditions as well. But what you may not know is that if you remember these things from childhood, you're way more prone to anxiety than if these things weren't part of your upbringing.
Many of the things that can affect someone's likelihood of developing a condition like anxiety aren't particularly rare, they're things that many people experience while growing up. And just because you did experience these sorts of things doesn't mean that you'll definitely develop anxiety or any other condition, but your experiences could make it more likely that you do.
If you're dealing with symptoms of anxiety or are concerned that you might be developing the condition for any reason, talking to a therapist about what's going on and what you're experiencing could help. They could also give you some ideas for ways to deal with your anxiety on your own, whenever you feel those symptoms coming on.
Knowing how your earlier experiences might impact you later on in life might not seem like it'd do much good, but knowing your potential risk for developing certain conditions — and knowing what to watch out for — might help you know when it's time to ask for some help.
1. Being Bullied
A 2013 study published in JAMA Psychiatry found that kids who were bullied when they were younger were more likely to develop certain mental health conditions in young adulthood, as were kids who bullied others. Depression, anxiety, panic, and more were all potential outcomes. Though not everyone who was bullied will definitely develop any sort of condition, it's worth noting that both bullies and victims of bullying were more likely to experience these sorts of things a bit later in life.
2. Your Parents Having Anxiety
As it turns out, seeing your parents or primary caregivers experiencing anxiety might also raise your risk of developing the condition. An article from Child Mind Institute noted that when kids see their parents' anxiety, that can lead them to conclude that those situations warrant anxiety or worry and that there's some research that indicates that kids of parents with anxiety might also be more likely to act in similar ways to their parents. Though your parents' anxiety might not have had any impact on your own, it seems that it could, so it's not something that you should dismiss or ignore.
3. You Were Never Able To Take Risks When Playing
If you weren't allowed to take risks when playing as a kid because your parents worried that you might get hurt, that too might make you more prone to anxiety. A 2011 study published in Evolutionary Psychology found that play that requires taking risks might help you learn to handle situations that can be potentially dangerous. If you're missing out on that kind of play, those situations might be more difficult for you to handle.
4. Things Were Stressful
In a post on its website, Alvarado Parkway Institute noted that experiencing a significant amount of stress for an extended period of time can also make you more prone to anxiety. If your childhood was generally stressful for you, no matter the reason, that could mean that you're more susceptible to developing anxiety than people who didn't experience much stress while growing up.
5. Your Parents Weren't Always Forthcoming With Affection
If you grew up in a family that wasn't big on affection, that might have affected you more than you realize. Psych Central noted that a University of Notre Dame study found that adults who hadn't received a lot of affection as kids were more likely to report dealing with anxiety and depression than those who grew up in more affectionate homes.
Though there are many factors that can influence whether or not you develop a condition like anxiety or when you might develop it, some of the things that you experienced while growing up might actually have had more of an effect on you than you would have thought.