“All of us at anxietycentre.com have experienced debilitating anxiety. But we’ve also overcome it and returned to normal and lasting health. Because we know the hardship anxiety unwellness can cause, we are committed to helping others, with over 30 years of service.” - Jim Folk, President, anxietycentre.com

My doctor said that anxiety and depressive disorders are caused by a biological problem or chemical imbalance problem in the brain? He also said that this biological or chemical imbalance problem is genetically caused. Is this true?

Marilyn Folk BScN medical reviewer
Written by: Jim Folk.
Medically reviewed by: Marilyn Folk, BScN.
Updated: May 11, 2019

No, this is not true. Anxiety and depressive disorders are NOT caused by a biological problem with the brain, a chemical imbalance in the brain, or by a genetic predisposition.

While many in the medical, mental health, and science communities believed this to be true, these notions never were proven. In fact, these notions were completely debunked a few years ago.

For more detailed information about this, see our "Chemical Imbalance Disproven" article.

If a doctor or mental health professional tells you your anxiety and/or depression is caused by a biological problem with the brain, a chemical imbalance in the brain, or by a genetic predisposition, don't believe them. Then seek different advice. These notions, while popularized during the early 2000s, never were true.

The combination of good self-help information and working with an experienced anxiety disorder therapist is the most effective way to address anxiety disorder and its many symptoms. Until the core causes of anxiety are addressed - the underlying factors that motivate apprehensive behavior - a struggle with anxiety disorder can return again and again. Identifying and successfully addressing anxiety's underlying factors is the best way to overcome problematic anxiety.

Additional Resources:

Return to our Anxiety Frequent Questions page.

anxietycentre.com: Information, support, and coaching/counseling/therapy for problematic anxiety and its sensations and symptoms, including the chemical imbalance theory is false.