“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

Is Anxiety Caused By A Disease Of The Brain?

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

I've been having a number of odd and persistent symptoms lately so I went to my doctor yesterday to see what could be causing them. My doctor told me that they were caused by anxiety. This initially scared me but not as much as what he said next. He then said anxiety is a disease of the brain and that the best I could hope for was to manage its symptoms with long-term medication. I was devastated. I went home and cried for hours. I then went online to see if it was true and came across your website. I became a member of your Recovery Support area right away and was immediately encouraged by your information.

Since I've only just begun to understand what I'm dealing with, if you could answer my question right away, I would be thankful. My question is, is anxiety caused by a disease of the brain and is there no hope other than to just manage symptoms with medication (I hope this is not true)?

Thank you for your question. I'm sorry to hear that your doctor’s comments have caused you distress. Fortunately, your distress is unwarranted.

NO, anxiety is NOT caused by a disease of the brain! Anxiety is caused by learned unhealthy behavior that anyone can change with the right information, help, and support. This also means that you don't have to suffer needlessly or even long-term. Doing the right work will help you overcome a struggle with anxiety and its sensations and symptoms.

As you become more familiar with our materials, this will make more sense. So, be encouraged. Anxiety disorder is nothing to be concerned about. Again, it is fully resolvable when you do the right work.

To suggest that anxiety is caused by a disease of the brain is a preposterous idea and demonstrates your doctor’s naiveté about anxiety. In this regard, I suggest you find another doctor as soon as possible. Working with a doctor that truly understands anxiety can be a valuable asset on your road to overcoming anxiety disorder. But working with a doctor who doesn't understand anxiety can do more harm than good…as your initial reaction has shown.

So, again, no! Anxiety is not caused by a disease of the brain that can only be managed with medication. For more information about anxiety, continue reading the materials in the Recovery Support area of our website. For more information about our views on anxiety and medication, see chapter 21.

All of us at anxietycentre.com have experienced anxiety disorder to various degrees (most of us have experienced anxiety disorder at the moderate to high degree ranges, so we truly understand what you're going through). But we've all overcome it by doing the right work. Many others before you have experienced anxiety disorder and have completely overcome it, as well. We are living proof that your doctor's opinion is uninformed.

So again, be encouraged. There's a lot you can do to rectify the situation. This means there's every reason to be hopeful rather than distressed. As you’ll soon see, there’s a lot you can do to eliminate problematic anxiety. Therefore, it needn’t be a cause for over concern.

We wish you every success in your recovery efforts.

For more information about anxiety, anxiety disorder, its true cause, and how to overcome it, see our Anxiety 101 section.

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.