Is Anxiety Caused By A Disease Of The Brain?

Written by Jim Folk
Last updated May 22, 2021

Is Anxiety Caused By A Disease Of The Brain?

Complete Question

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 your doctor’s comments have caused you distress. Fortunately, your distress is unwarranted.

NO, anxiety disorder and its symptoms is NOT caused by a disease of the brain! Anxiety disorder is caused by unhealthy behavior that anyone can change with the right information, help, and support.

Visit our article about the anxiety myth “Anxiety Disorder Is Caused By A Biological Problem With The Brain.”

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Since anxiety disorder is not caused by a disease of the brain, it also means 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 symptoms.

As you become more familiar with our materials, this will make more sense. Be encouraged. Anxiety disorder is nothing to be concerned about. While it can cause hardship and significant lifestyle impairment, you can overcome it when you do the right work.

Suggesting that anxiety is caused by a disease of the brain is referring to outdated and false information about anxiety disorder. However, it does demonstrate your doctor’s naiveté about anxiety.

If that is your doctor’s opinion about anxiety disorder, it would be prudent to look for another doctor, and one who is more knowledgeable about anxiety, its causes, and proven treatments.

Working with a doctor that truly understands anxiety can be an invaluable asset on your road to recovery. 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. Learning more about anxiety disorder, such as using the materials at our website, can provide clarity on this matter.

For more information about our views on anxiety and medication, see chapter 21 in the Recovery Support area.

All of us at have struggled with anxiety disorder, but we’ve also overcome it. We’ve helped many people successfully overcome it, as well. We are living proof that your doctor's opinion isn’t accurate.

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 issues with anxiety. Therefore, it needn’t be a cause for concern.

We wish you every success in your recovery efforts!

The combination of good self-help information and working with an experienced anxiety disorder therapist, coach, or counselor is the most effective way to address anxiety and its many symptoms. Until the core causes of anxiety are addressed – which we call the underlying factors of anxiety – a struggle with anxiety unwellness can return again and again. Dealing with the underlying factors of anxiety is the best way to address problematic anxiety.

Additional Resources

Return to our Anxiety Frequent Questions archive. Information, support, and therapy for anxiety disorder and its symptoms, including Is Anxiety Caused By A Disease Of The Brain?