Only Manage Anxiety Symptoms But Not Overcome Anxiety

Written by Jim Folk
Medically reviewed by Marilyn Folk, BScN.
Last updated April 25, 2021

only manage symptoms but not overcome anxiety disorder myth

Anxiety Disorder Myth #5: Another common anxiety disorder myth is that you can only manage anxiety symptoms but never completely eliminate anxiety disorder.

This myth is similar to the previous myth. There are medical and mental health sources that still suggest the best we can do is manage anxiety symptoms but not actually eliminate problematic anxiety.

All of us at can confidently say that that opinion is untrue, since we’ve completely overcome problematic anxiety ourselves…and have been living anxiety disorder-free for many years. In addition to our own complete recoveries, we’ve worked with countless others who have achieved this same level of success.

As we mentioned earlier, anxiety is a physiological, psychological, and emotional state that occurs when we behave in an apprehensive manner. Every time we behave apprehensively, we experience anxiety. Therefore, anxiety is not a condition caused by a chemical, biological, or genetic reason, but an anxious state that’s caused by a certain style of behavior: behaving apprehensively.

Everyone experiences anxiety from time to time. This is normal. But that doesn’t mean we have to sufferer with problematic anxiety or that there’s no hope. Quite the contrary.

Anxiety unwellness occurs when behaving apprehensively interferes with a normal lifestyle. Again, this doesn't occur as a result of chemistry, biology, or genes, but occurs when we behave apprehensively too frequently and/or dramatically. Behaving in this manner is learned. Just as we have learned to behave overly anxiously, we can also learn to behave less anxiously.

If we want to overcome anxiety unwellness, we can by addressing the issues that motivate overly apprehensive behavior. We call these issues the “Underlying Factors of Anxiety.” They are the unhealthy behaviors, situations, and circumstances that motivate apprehensiveness.

Overcoming these underlying factors can be done through the combination of education using good self-help information, professional coaching/therapy, and support through to healthy and lasting change.

Everyone is capable of doing this work. Therefore, overcoming anxiety unwellness is a realistic expectation for anyone willing to work at making healthy behavioral change.

How can this myth hamper recovery?

Believing that anxiety disorder can only be ‘managed’ places us in a victim position, when we should really be in a position of authority and power. Since behaviors are willful, we can change them using our will. Seeking professional help is the best way to learn how to achieve this control and gain lasting success.

Anxiety isn't something that needs to be cured because it isn’t an illness. Dealing with our apprehensive behaviors, which cause problematic anxiety, solves the entire anxiety unwellness problem.

How can this myth make things worse?

Believing you’ll always have a ‘condition’ that can never be completely ‘cured’ could make you feel more anxious, hopeless, helpless, and trapped, which can negatively affect the quality of your life experience. And when people lose hope and feel they can never live a normal life again, this mindset can produce the very anxiety and depression they dread.

But if you believe anxiety is a behavior you can work at changing, that realization alone can bring hope, which can alleviate a great deal of unnecessary anxiety and feelings of being depressed.

Anxiety isn’t about something that’s ‘gone wrong’ and that you can’t correct. Anxiety is about behavior that all of us can change and control when we know how. Working with an experienced anxiety therapist, coach, or counsellor can teach you those important skills.

All of us at have experienced problematic anxiety and know how out of control it can seem. But we also know that there are many ways we can gain control over it. Getting the right information, help, and support is all that is required to successfully treat anxiety unwellness. No one needs to suffer needlessly!

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 Myths page. Information, support, and therapy for anxiety disorder and its symptoms, including the anxiety myth: Only Manage Anxiety Symptoms But Not Overcome Anxiety.