The Top 10 Myths and Misconceptions About Anxiety

Sep 14, 2015
Tagged with: The Top 10 Myths and Misconceptions About Anxiety

Anxiety is a much-misunderstood psychological condition. Some question its existence as a “real” health-disorder, leaving sufferers lost in a world that does not understand them. However, as any psychology professional knows, anxiety is as real and potentially incapacitating a disorder as depression, and – like depression – can only be healed with a well-planned mix of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), professional counseling, and medication. If properly-treated, anxiety sufferers can go on to live happy, fully-functional professional and personal lives.

Do you know the fact from the myth of anxiety?

Myth 1: Anxiety is “not a real illness”

Anxiety is a real illness. There are no blood tests that can detect it, no scan that will diagnose the locus of anxiety, but an anxiety disorder affects your life, takes over your waking moments, and prevents your sleep. It causes physical symptoms: heart palpitations, dry mouth, and nausea. It’s a very real physical illness and can be controlled and treated like other physical illnesses.

Myth 2: Everyone has to face anxiety

Stressful situations are a part of life. But there is a difference between being anxious about an upcoming exam and suffering an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorder is far more serious, and not something that everyone faces. If you find yourself feeling unusually anxious, having panic-attacks, experiencing heart palpitations, and being unable to sleep due to anxiety, you may be suffering with an anxiety disorder.

Myth 3: People with anxiety should just avoid stress

Not only is it impossible to avoid all stressful situations, it can be counterproductive. If a certain situation makes you anxious – crowds or crossing a bridge – than avoiding it will reinforce your anxiety, and make the disorder worse if you are ever forced to face that situation. It’s better to begin therapy, where you can desensitize yourself to that situation slowly.

Myth 4: Panic attacks make you faint

False! Panic attacks do not make you faint. Low blood pressure, which is not experienced in a panic attack, causes you to faint. Although you feel like you are losing control in a panic attack, you have not lost control. There have even been cases where psychologists have carried out conversations with patients during panic attacks.

Myth 5: Always carry a paper bag in case of panic attack

False! Carrying a paper bag will prepare you for another panic attack. By preparing for another panic attack, you anticipate it, which makes a panic attack more likely to occur.

Myth 6: Only nervous people develop anxiety disorders

Anxiety disorders are actually very common. An estimated 18% of the American population has an anxiety disorder, that’s about 1 in 6 of the population. They are not found only in nervous people; they are caused by a mix of genetics and experience.

Myth 7: Anxiety will get better on its own

It likely will not. Anxiety requires treatment with a qualified professional. If you try to “wait and see” if it gets better, the condition could get worse. In addition, up to 60% of patients with anxiety disorder experience depression, which also requires treatment.

Myth 8: People who say they have anxiety just need to get over it

Anxiety is a genuine health condition, not something you can just “get over”. Recovery from anxiety is very possible but it takes a structured regimen of therapy, counseling, and occasionally medication.

Myth 9: A little booze will make things better

Many patients with anxiety try self-medicating with alcohol or illegal drugs. Not only does this not work, it’s counterproductive. Alcohol is a depressant, meaning that it lowers your mood. Many illicit drugs cause anxiety as a side-effect, meaning you need to keep taking them to temporarily distract yourself from your anxiety. Result: you still have anxiety, but now you also have a drug problem to deal with.

Myth 10: Therapy takes a lifetime to work

False! Results vary, but you could see improvement after just a few sessions of CBT or counseling. With CBT for example, up to 75% of patients experienced at least a 50% improvement in symptoms.

If you experience anxiety, consult your doctor today. They could advise on the best psychological help, so you can take steps to improve your condition.


Author: Daina Martin

  • bobl07

    Thank you so much for the information on this hidden topic.