We live in a society that is slowly opening up to the talk about mental health. The progress is visible, but it’s still slow. Anxious disorders are some of the most commonly discussed psychiatric illnesses, yet there are still plenty of misconceptions about anxiety that those who battle this problem have to listen to every day.
What are bad things about anxiety that most people believe are true? There are so many myths about mental health disorders that it can be hard to decide where to begin debunking. Unfortunately, misinformation spreads fast, making it challenging to tell the truth from the myth. Are you one of those who believe in the scientifically inaccurate myths about anxiety? Keep reading to find out.
Let’s Debunk the Most Common Misconceptions About Anxiety
Is anxiety a real issue? Some people don’t think so, but they are so very wrong. This issue can manifest in anyone, and it has many different symptoms, some of which most of us don’t even recognize. If you learn what symptoms anxious people experience and how stress affects their health, you might be able to help ourselves and others who are dealing with this problem. Don’t fall prey to outdated information and myths when you can learn about symptoms and proper treatment – I am here to help with that.
Anxiety Disorders Are Among the Most Common Mental Health Issues, Yet They’re Still Very Misunderstood
Nowadays, being anxious isn’t a rare occurrence. In fact, about 40 million adults in the United States experience it. Still, somehow, the stigma surrounds the issue, and only 36.9% of people who battle this receive treatment and go to therapy sessions. Why? The answer is simple – we don’t know enough about this illness. Can you answer this simple question – what are 5 facts about anxiety disorders? A lot of us wouldn’t know what to say, and many would say something inaccurate. So, keep scrolling to see if your understanding of this important topic is scientifically backed up.
#1 Anxious Disorders Aren’t Severe Issues, and They Don’t Affect Your Day-to-Day Life
This is the furthest thing from the truth. Anxious people suffer every day due to this disorder, and that suffering shows up in many aspects of life, not just mental health. It also affects physical health (remember, mental illness can cause physical symptoms), relationships, friendships, family, adds to work stress, or even makes the simplest of things such as shopping for groceries impossible. We should never underestimate the pain that an anxious person feels.
All Anxiety Manifests in the Same Way
Being anxious isn’t a symptom of one illness. There is a list of disorders that manifest this way, and they significantly vary in their expression, cause, and even treatment. Some of the most commonly diagnosed ones include the following:
- Generalized anxiety disorder,
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder,
- Mixed anxiety and depressive disorder,
- Panic disorder,
#2 Anxious People Are Weak-Minded
The truth is actually the opposite. To go through life with this constant feeling of worry is courageous. It takes a lot of strength to make yourself face challenges at work, at social gatherings, or even when alone. So, if you are anxious, never let society persuade you that you are weak. Only those who have never experienced this unpleasant feeling can dare to say such a thing.
You Can Help Yourself By Having a Healthy Lifestyle
Another myth that goes hand in hand with “anxious means weak” is a well-known one – you can cure yourself with self-care tips, healthy food, physical activity, and a proper sleeping schedule. This is inaccurate and only feeds the harmful idea that anxious individuals are lazy or incompetent. What they need is adequate treatment and care, which means doctors or therapists. You can’t help someone by saying they should try going for a run, joining a yoga class, or drinking smoothies. While all these things might be helpful in dealing with anxiety symptoms, they aren’t treatment, and they only enforce the toxic positivity narrative.
#3 Medication Is Bad, and You Will Become Addicted to It
Most of us don’t know enough about psychiatric medications, but we’ve all heard this statement so many times. But will you actually become an addict if you take medication to improve your health? No, that is something you shouldn’t worry about – it’s one of the myths. The type of medication used for the treatment of these issues isn’t addictive. If you go to the hospital and see someone whose specialty is psychiatry, they will most likely prescribe you SSRI antidepressants, which you can’t get addicted to. In fact, these don’t even work as recreational drugs – they do nothing to those who aren’t anxious or depressed and can’t get you high.
Medication Is Enough to Cure the Disorder
Even though antidepressants are beneficial, they aren’t enough for proper treatment. You also need therapy or coaching and counseling. The critical point of medication is to help calm you down and make you responsive to sessions. Not even the best therapist can do much if the client is highly anxious, so the combination of antidepressants and therapy is the perfect mix for severe issues of this kind. Understandably, it might be hard to choose a therapist and then contact them. Also, going to your first appointment can bring up a lot of feelings, both positive and negative. But the important thing is that you understand how therapy works and what you can gain from this experience.
#4 If You Avoid Triggers and Stressful Situations, You Will Be Fine
We can say with 100% certainty that this is a myth. Don’t think that if you avoid things that make you stressed out, the problem will disappear. Sure, it’s okay to avoid some triggers, but ignoring the problem altogether isn’t beneficial, and it reinforces bad patterns. At a certain point, you will find yourself in a situation where you can’t avoid stress, the panic will overwhelm you, and you will be disappointed in yourself. It’s better to learn how to deal with stress properly. It takes time, and it’s not easy, but it’s a long-term solution, while avoidance is a quick fix.
A Panic Attack Will Cause Fainting
Medicine says this is far from accurate. When you experience a panic attack, your blood pressure rises. Fainting is caused by the sudden drop in the pressure in your brain, which means that it is improbable to faint during a panic attack. Of course, if the attack is very severe, it can require medical assistance, but if it’s any consolation, fainting is one thing you shouldn’t worry about.
#5 Anxiety and Depression Are Unrelated
One of the facts about anxiety and depression that most of us overlook is that they are related. Roughly 50% of patients diagnosed with depression are also anxious. It’s also not unusual to see an anxious person who falls into depression, and honestly – can you blame them? It’s a pretty severe condition, and sometimes it becomes too much to deal with. So yes, a person can have both. When occurring together, they can vary in severity, so one of them can be dominant. Nevertheless, both of these issues need to be addressed adequately by a professional you contact when seeking care.
#6 You Can’t Make an Anxious Person Feel Better
Most of us seem to think that being anxious is something that will follow you till your last day on this planet. But the truth is far from that. With a good therapist, perseverance, and the right amount of time, your struggles can go away. Still, it’s crucial to know that things can’t get better if you don’t put in the effort. Your therapist can share all the helpful advice they want, but you need to be ready to hear it and implement it.
Better Understanding and Getting Rid of Misconceptions Is Beneficial for Battling the Stigma
Now that you’ve reached the end of this article, you know more about this widespread issue. You understand how an anxious person feels and how this affects everyday functioning, socializing, and overall productivity. Getting rid of misconceptions is crucial – spreading knowledge is the most powerful weapon in battling stigma that is still widespread in our society. This is where the impact of social media can be used for good – spread the word, share accurate information, and you will contribute to the good fight – acceptance for all who struggle with mental health.