Friday Factoids: Myths and Truths about Anxiety Disorders

 

How much do you know about anxiety? Have you bought into any of these myths? Here’s some information that might help!

 

Myth

Truth

If I have a bad panic attack, I will pass out/faint. It is very unlikely you will faint during a panic attack.   Fainting is typically caused by a sudden drop in blood pressure and, during a   panic attack, blood pressure actually rises slightly.
I should just avoid situations that stress me out. Avoiding anxiety tends to reinforce the anxiety. When   individuals avoid anxiety-provoking situations, they continue to believe they   cannot manage or cope with those situations.
I’ll carry a paper bag in case I hyperventilate. Paper bags (similar to as-needed medications) can become a   safety crutch for anxiety.
Medication is the only treatment for my anxiety. Therapy can also help to reduce worry and anxiety. In   fact, research shows that a combination of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)   and medication can be the most effective treatment.
I’m just a worrywart and nothing can really help me. Therapy can help anyone to learn a different relationship   with their own thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.
If I eat well, exercise, avoid caffeine, and live a   healthy lifestyle, my anxiety will just go away. Healthy living can help with worry and anxiety; however,   it cannot cure an anxiety disorder.

“You need more help than just reducing your stress. You   may need to face your fears, learn new facts about your symptoms, stop   avoiding, learn tolerance for some experiences, or change how you think,   feel, and behave with respect to other people.”

My family is always reassuring and help me avoid stress,   which helps me. Similar to the paper bags, well-meaning friends and family   can contribute to and prolong anxiety. Encouraging and supportive friends and   family can better help by assisting an individual through anxiety and   discomfort rather than helping avoid.

 

Would you like some resources for anxiety? Some organizations with helpful resources include National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), International Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Foundation, Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapy, and National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

 

Anxiety and Depression Association of America. (2015). “Myth-conceptions,” or common fabrications, fibs, and folklore about anxiety.

 

Brittany Best, MA
WKPIC Doctoral Intern

 

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