Anxiety Is Caused By Behavior Not Genes

Written by Jim Folk
Medically reviewed by Marilyn Folk, BScN.
Last updated May 22, 2021
Anxiety News

It's because of behavior, 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".

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Anxiety News

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.

Anxiety News

"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 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.

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 Tips page. Information, support, and therapy for anxiety disorder and its symptoms, including Anxiety Is Caused By Behavior Not Genes.