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  • Sara

7 Common Myths About Anxiety and the Facts

Anxiety is a normal part of life. It's a feeling of fear or worry that can be mild or strong. We all feel anxiety at some point in our lives. For some people, anxiety can be a short-term, manageable feeling. But for others, it can be a chronic, overwhelming condition.

There are many different types of anxiety disorders, each with its own symptoms. But there are some common symptoms of anxiety, including:

* Feeling restless, nervous, or tense

* Having a sense of impending danger, panic, or doom

* Having an increased heart rate

* Sweating

* Trembling

* Feeling short of breath

* Feeling like you can't focus or think straight

If you're experiencing any of these symptoms, it's important to talk to a doctor or mental health professional. They can help you figure out if you have an anxiety disorder and develop a treatment plan.

Not only are there many different types of anxiety disorders, but there are, unfortunately, many myths that come along with having a diagnosable disorder. Here are just a few myths about clinical anxiety that you may have heard. It is important to understand that these are myths and not fact in order to best understand the condition itself:

  1. Anxiety never improves. Anxiety is a mental illness that will never go away. However, your symptoms may be better or worse during certain times. This does not mean you will not find the tools to better manage your anxiety and make living with it easier.

  2. You can only treat anxiety with medication. Medication is a great way to treat anxiety, and it can be effective, however it is not the only way to treat anxiety. Many people find relief with psychotherapy as well as techniques such as breathing and grounding exercises that can easily be learned at home. Typically, a combination of psychotherapy, at-home exercises and medication is needed to treat severe cases of anxiety. Going to therapy where you can learn tools to help redirect yourself when overthinking, deal with panic attacks, etc., can be extremely helpful. Exercise and mindfulness are also great ways you can help ease symptoms. Learning the proper tools to help yourself is crucial because medication can only help so much.

  3. It is obvious when someone has an anxiety disorder. Maybe on TV or in fictitious films. We often see people with anxiety portrayed hiding in the corner chewing their fingernails and sweating. However, anxiety does not always visibly present itself. Some people may be feeling anxious or even be having a panic attack and you wouldn’t even know it. Anxiety can be invisible and easily hidden, so you should never just assume someone is fine because they don’t look upset. Also, once symptoms are properly treated, it can become even less obvious that someone is living with anxiety. This doesn’t mean it’s not there – it’s just being well-managed.

  4. Only adults experience anxiety. It is important to remember everyone can have anxiety and feel anxious. Anxiety often affects adults, but children can also experience anxiety. Children may not experience anxiety the same way as adults, but they can still experience symptoms of anxiety that affect their young lives. Many time, anxiety disorder present in childhood and continue to worsen with age if left untreated.

  5. If you have an anxiety disorder you should avoid stressful situations.

Being involved in high stress situations can surely add anxiety to anyone's life, but just because you have anxiety does not mean you should try to avoid stressful situations. In fact, this would be nearly impossible. We all experience some level of stress every now and again, and many times, it’s experienced daily. Throughout life there will always be times where you have stressful situations going on but avoiding them will not teach you how to deal with them in a healthy way. People with anxiety can handle stressful situations; it may just take a little more effort. And this is where properly managing symptoms becomes very important. If symptoms are left unmanaged, this could lead to coping with self-destructive means such as substance use, which ultimately makes anxiety worse.

  1. Anxiety makes you weak. Often people who have anxiety feel they are weak because their thoughts make them believe they are. People with anxiety may feel like they can’t handle stress when really they just handle it differently. Always remember mental illness never makes you weak, and that anxiety disorders are the most commonly diagnosable mental health conditions, in general.

  2. Anxiety is just part of life. While stress is a part of life, your anxiety should not leave you suffering in silence. Anxiety symptoms are more than just feeling stressed out. Never let anyone convince you that what you are feeling is “no big deal” just because they don’t understand what you are experiencing.

Dispelling common myths about anxiety is so important. This allows those who are living with it to get the proper treatment without feeling stigmatized or shamed for having a mental health condition that, in reality, millions of people are living with.


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