“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

Anxiety is caused by behavior, not genes

Last updated: March 2, 2021

It's because of our behaviors, not a genetic predisposition

Too often we hear people say, “Anxiety runs in my family, so I guess I just have to learn to live with it.” Or, “My doctor said my anxiety disorder is caused by my family’s genes and I need to take medication to manage it.”

Fortunately, both of these statements are untrue. Yes, it is true that anxiety often runs in families, but that’s because of learned behavior, and not because of genes.

Anxiety is caused by the way we’ve learned to live in unhealthy ways, thus more fearfully and stressfully than others. And since we live more fearfully and stressfully than others, our bodies become more stressed than others, and therefore symptomatic. And since anxiety personalities are notorious worriers, our worry about our symptoms often fuels the anxiety fire.

But since we have learned to live more anxiously than others, we also can learn to live less anxiously, too. Identifying and addressing the unhealthy behaviors at the root of our anxiety is key to eliminating anxiety as a disorder and its symptoms.

So, no one needs to suffer with or put up with an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorder is fully reversible with the right information, help, and support. Normal health is available to anyone willing to do the work required to learn to live healthier. And this is great news for anyone tired of living with an anxiety disorder.

NOTE: Genes are turned on and off by the way we behave and react to our environment. So just because we have a genetic code doesn't mean that our destiny is “hardwired.” Quite to the contrary, our behaviors have great influence over what our genes do. As Dr. John Krystal, editor of Biological Psychiatry, stated, “Genetics is not destiny.”

For more information, see our "Anxiety is caused by a genetic predisposition myth".


Recent study finds web-based technologies revolutionizing mental health care.

A recent study by Dr. Sam Ozersky, a psychiatrist with the mood disorders clinic at the University Health Network in Toronto, found that online self-help materials are revolutionizing mental health treatment and care. He also found that getting psychotherapy online—at a distance removing the need to go to a caregiver’s office—is also changing the face of treatment and care.

“Unless the diagnostic couch is strategically placed beneath a computer screen, it's rapidly moving to extinction,” Dr. Ozersky says.

Carole Sinclair, director of treatment services at the Hincks-Dellcrest Treatment Centre in Toronto, agreed that e-mental health is the way mental health services will be delivered in the future. “I don't think we've begun to understand the potential of the Web for improving mental-health services.” Dr. Sinclair, also chairs the ethics committee of the Canadian Psychological Association.

Since we’ve been using this approach for the past 13 years, it’s nice to see others in the health communities discovering the same kinds of advantages.

“There are a lot more upsides than downsides and we're just beginning to understand how much we can do online,” said Dr. Sinclair. “The potential is so great that it's almost unethical to not pursue this avenue.”

We agree. The successes we've seen using web-based self-help information coupled with therapy delivered at a distance have been remarkable. The results we've seen far outpace traditional methods.

With today’s technologies, accessing good help is available to anyone no matter where they live. As long as they have an Internet connection, they can access the best help available, and often at a reduced cost. It’s exciting to see so many people get the help they need from those who truly understand anxiety disorder and know how to resolve it. Now, there’s no reason to suffer needlessly!

Click the link for more information about the most effective way to overcome anxiety disorder.


"I can’t express enough gratitude for the amazing help I have received through Doug Wildman and the resulting transformation I have been going through with assistance from the member’s area of the anxietycentre.com website. My life has changed forever and I am finally turning into the person that I always wanted to be...and the person I never thought I could be." - N.F., Canada

Read more about a recent testimony we received.

For more information about anxiety symptoms, see our Anxiety Symptoms section.

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For a more detailed explanation about all anxiety symptoms, why symptoms can persist long after the stress response has ended, common barriers to recovery and symptom elimination, and more recovery strategies and tips, we have many chapters that address this information in the Recovery Support area of our website.

Disclaimer: anxietycentre.com is not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted by anxietycentre.com or for the use of any information through the anxietycentre.com system.

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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.

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anxietycentre.com: Information, support, and professional therapy for anxiety disorder and its symptoms, including: Behaviors not genes.