In this article, we will highlight 5 common misconceptions about anxiety and tell you why you should not trust these bits of information.
Anxiety can be best described as our brain’s way of reacting to stress by indicating any potential dangers in the future. Anxiety, when experienced at an optimum level, is a normal emotion. However, when a person feels excessively anxious over a long period, they might be experiencing a full-blown anxiety disorder.
Unfortunately, a lot of people treat ‘anxiety’ and ‘anxiety disorder’ as the same. This is a harmful misconception as it delays someone from seeking professional help. And this is not the only misconception people have about anxiety. Let us look at a few other common ones.
Anxiety is Self-induced
Many people perceive anxiety to be something people bring upon themselves. Whenever someone expresses their anxious thoughts in front of a group of people, at least half of them would believe that their thoughts are self-invoked or simply an outcome of their negative thinking. However, this is far from true.
While factors like self-neglect and excessive intake of stimulants can trigger anxiety levels, it is crucial to understand that anxiety is a buildup of several stressful life events that ultimately surface due to a person’s genetic and environmental factors. These factors - like genetics, past trauma, and certain medical conditions - are also the ones over which they have little to no control.
Anxiety Disorders are “Just a Phase”
Often, people with anxiety disorders get the severity of their condition negated by misinformed people who suggest anxiety is "just a phase" that would go away on their own over time. Such advice is not only misleading but could also be detrimental to the person’s emotional well-being.
We must understand that anxiety disorders are way more than just a phase, essentially because they’re characterised by persistent anxiety in the first place. An anxiety disorder is not the same as occasionally worrying about things or experiencing anxiety due to stressful life events. People living with anxiety can experience frequent anxiety for months, if not years. Moreover, these symptoms don’t go away on their own but, in actuality, tend to aggravate if proper medical health is not sought at the right time.
If you feel you are experiencing symptoms which are more than “just worrying”, consider taking a free assessment today.
Anxiety Attacks and Panic Attacks are the Same Thing
Because of the perceived similarities between anxiety and panic disorders, both terms are sometimes used interchangeably. Due to this, many people misinterpret anxiety attacks as panic attacks and vice versa. However, contrary to popular belief, both of these conditions are very different.
Anxiety attacks are triggered by certain stressors in a person’s environment. Panic attacks, on the other hand, can occur suddenly without an obvious cause. Moreover, they’re accompanied by severe physical symptoms, including shortness of breath, racing heartbeat or nausea.
Children Cannot Experience Anxiety
Children are often seen as ‘free-spirited’ or carefree souls who don’t have to worry about the complexities of life. However, just as in the case of adults, anxiety can cause behavioural, emotional, and physical symptoms in children as well.
Kids can also develop an anxiety disorder. Plus, children with anxiety disorders are at increased risk of depression, suicidal behaviour, alcohol and substance use disorders, and may experience academic difficulties later in life. Again, just like adults, children experiencing anxiety must also be treated by a medical professional.
Anxiety Disorders Cannot be Treated
Unlike what many people believe, anxiety can definitely be treated! Its symptoms can be substantially alleviated if proper help is sought at the right time. Although anxiety might not be completely done away with (because, at the end of the day, it is a natural human emotion), its levels can be optimised through medicines and psychotherapy so that they do not interfere with the daily functioning of the individual.
Now that you know how pervasive anxiety disorders can be, it might be time to book your first therapy session (if you need help with managing anxiety)! On Rocket Health, you can talk to a therapist online without any hassle. We guarantee a judgement-free, comforting space to address all your mental health concerns.
What’s more, you don’t even have to worry about finding a suitable therapist. Fill this out, and we will help you find a therapist online and set up your first therapy session.