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Are We Looking at Anxiety Disorders the Wrong Way?

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), irrational fears and phobias (particularly social phobia), severe depression...

Current beliefs about these problems and treatments based on these beliefs are failing millions of people looking for a cure.

They're based on the medical model of illness which sees these problems as something going wrong (in the brain) and the answer lies in 'fixing' the thing that has gone wrong – usually with medication.

As such, theories about mental illness and disease, physical brain problems or genetic causes don't even come close to the real answer... for they ignore the incredible power of the human mind

When we look closely at these problems and the evidence that exists, we can see that they are not:-

point  Illness or Diseases That We Somehow Catch
Anxiety disorders follow a logical psychological progression based on our life experiences and we can map exactly what happens every step of the way. From initial nervousness and anxiety problems through to severe 'disorders' (including chronic depression) each stage can be predicted and explained.

point  Mental Illness
Most people with these problems are above average intelligence and are fully aware of what is happening to them, yet feel powerless to stop it. Their brains are functioning correctly given the information they have received.

point  Due to Imbalance of Chemicals in Our Brain
Synapses are connections between the neurons in our brain (there are around 10,000 for each neuron). They are tiny spaces that are occupied by chemical messengers called neurotransmitters that carry information between neurons.

Serotonin and Dopamine are the two main neurotransmitters (chemicals) regularly mentioned with regard to anxiety and depression problems. And a chemical imbalance, usually referring to deficiencies of these neurotransmitters, is often proffered as a reason for anxiety disorders and depression.

Well, anxiety and depression deplete our body of many resources, including such things as energy, vitamins, minerals, electrolytes and no doubt neurotransmitters. Surely, any chemical imbalance is the result of these problems not the cause. Balancing chemicals in the brain through the action of drugs may alleviate some symptoms temporarily but never touches the cause.

point  Curable with drugs
Medication works on a physical level. Anxiety disorders are psychological and the answer is psychological. Whilst short-term medication may be beneficial for symptom relief (and in many cases very necessary), drugs never touch the underlying reason for these problems. Indeed, taking medication regularly can actually make the underlying cause of the problem worse.

point  Due to Genes
Evolution and our genes provide us with predispositions not fixed behaviours. These are ways in which we are predisposed to behave given the right environment; that is, our life experiences. We cannot be programmed with fixed behaviours like obsessive thinking or worrying, compulsive behaviours, irrational fears and phobias for we don't know the environment we will be born into ... it would not be adaptive to react with extreme anxiety to unconditional love.

Genetic information may load us with predispositions but it's the environment, our experiences, that determine whether such predispositions flourish and grow or wither and die.

And very importantly...

These Problems are not Irrational – Our mind and body are perfectly ordered in what they are trying to do, and we get these problems for the most rational reason there will ever be ... for our survival.

Anxiety disorders (and severe depression) develop from our survival instincts trying to protect us and given their life experiences, the minds of most people with these problems are working perfectly and rationally ... but they are not working appropriately.


With anxiety disorders, we can spend a lifetime looking for the right cure for our 'illness'... if only we can find the right pill or method. Unfortunately, in doing this, we are looking at these problems in totally the wrong way.

When we look at them logically and calmly through the lens of human evolution and survival, focusing on feelings, learning and conditioning the answer becomes clear.


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"An illness that disrupts normal physical or mental functions"

(Medical model definition)

Anxiety disorders are characterized by significant feelings of anxiety and fear.


Anxiety Symptoms
Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety Self Help


Anxiety Books


More Resources:
Anxiety & Depression
Assoc. of America

The Royal College of
Psychiatrists (UK)


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