Friday, July 27, 2018

Misconceptions About Anxiety

The rise of stressful lifestyles has led to the increase of mental disorder cases, including anxiety. What are some misconceptions that are associated with the condition? Read on to find out.
If there is a place where misinformation abounds about mental disorders such as phobias, it is the internet. Anxiety is one of these disorders – not many people know much about it, or whether they have it.


If you have someone in your life that is struggling with the condition, it may be difficult to know what to do or how to assist them – and sometimes you may resort to ‘quick cures’ that need you to pay up-front before you receive help. When the condition is affecting your life or a loved one, you are willing to try anything to help minimize the pain, but how do you know what you can trust and what to leave? Here are some common myths about the condition.
Anxiety is not a 'real' illness
Everyone goes through anxious moments at certain points in our lives, especially when something major is about to happen. In fact, some anxiety can be helpful in some situations. However, anxiety disorder is much more than that – it is an extreme form of anxiety that leaves you impaired, you cannot function or go about your daily life because of it, and above all – it is a real illness.

The problem with anxiety is that it is not very easy to diagnose it, unlike conditions such as diabetes, cocaine abuse and addiction, or cancer – but there are ways of spotting the condition, thanks to its physical manifestations. Once it is diagnosed, it is easy to manage and treat it afterwards.

Panic attacks will make you lose control and pass out
The truth – not really. The fainting that accompanies panic or anxiety attacks usually occurs because of drops in blood pressure, but this does not occur because of a panic attack.

In fact, the opposite usually happens when you have a panic attack, at least most of the time. The attack will trigger your blood pressure and heartbeat rate to increase, and that can only mean one thing – you do not pass out, even if you wish you could. That does not make a panic attack less dreadful, but fearing them tends to make the problem worse, and that should be enough reason to get treatment for anxiety.

Many people have the perception that panic attacks will make them lose control when doing something such as driving, but panic attacks do not have that effect. Another interesting fact to note is that not everyone who has panic attacks goes on to develop panic disorder. In fact, out of 20 to 25 percent of people suffering panic attacks, only 3 percent develop panic disorders.


Panic disorders are a moresevere form off the condition, as they are a vicious cycle that result in anxiety about the chances of getting more attacks in future. Sometimes treatment involves you riding out the storm and remembering that nothing bad will happen – this will help you to break the vicious cycle in future.
If you have anxiety, avoid situations that may lead to stress

Okay, two things – it is impossible to avoid stressful situations completely. Second thing, you should not view yourself as a fragile being, because this is counterproductive and just causes more anxiety. It is important to keep in mind that you can be anxious and still accomplish what you should do.

Stress avoidance might seem like a good method of managing anxiety on the surface, but it is not as effective as you think. Life will always present stressful situations that are mostly unexpected, and all of these are capable of causing anxiety if you have anxiety disorders.


In addition, avoiding the triggers of stress like large crowds and open spaces, will only serve to heighten the disorder. Anxiety treatment that is effective will expose you to the anxiety trigger in safe amounts and slow rates, until you can learn to cope with the problem, not avoid it.
Carrying a paper bag is useful in case you hyperventilate

You have probably seen this in the movies or in popular culture, where someone starts hyperventilating and they have a paper bag with them. The thing is hyperventilating is not necessarily life threatening, but carrying the paper bag every time will increase anxiety.

This is because carrying the bag is more of a safety behavior than anything else. It reinforces the subconscious fear that something bad will happen and you want to have a safety plan just in case. In addition, hyperventilating feels uncomfortable for sure, even though it is not life threatening.

Safety behavior is another way of avoiding the problem instead of facing the fear and getting to the root of the problem. They will feed the anxiety cycle even more.

Anxiety disorders are not common
Anxiety is more common than you may think. In the United States for instance, almost 18 percent of adults go through different varieties of anxiety disorder in a certain year, according to statistics from the NIMH (National Institute of Mental Health).


Even though millions of people live with different forms of anxiety, a patient will be very surprised to discover they do not go through it alone, once they are diagnosed with the condition. It is understandable though, since there are certain types of anxiety disorders like social anxiety and OCD that isolate people and make one feel embarrassed to seek treatment.
Anxiety will get better if you wait for it to go
It will not, and it never does. This misconception has also led to many cases being diagnosed late, with the average individual waiting for up to ten years before they go to seek anxiety treatment.
When the person can function well enough, they often delay the treatment process, and they hope it will go away on its own. Improvement happens very rarely, and it actually gets worse with time, while other conditions such as depression develop.

Final thoughts

Anxiety is among the most misunderstood mental conditions, so many myths surround it. These are just some of them, and it is important to have adequate information about the condition to be able to deal with it early and effectively.

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