We all get nervous or anxious from time to time. Often, after we hit the gym or call a friend, this anxiety will go away with no problem. Some anxiety is normal and even helpful in keeping us alert, motivating us to solve problems, and spurring us into action. But sometimes it builds, becomes constant, and begins to interfere with our daily lives, our relationships, and our overall health. At that point, the anxiety is no longer functional or something that will disappear after an hour at the gym – it may in fact be an anxiety disorder that requires professional treatment.
For some people, recognizing and accepting that they have an anxiety disorder can be very difficult because of all the false beliefs they carry about it. At Alvarado Parkway Institute in San Diego, we want to help remove some of the stigma and spread a little truth about anxiety disorders. Take a look below where we debunk some of the biggest myths about anxiety.
Anxiety myth #1: Anxiety isn’t real.
Fact: For people who worry here and there but can easily assuage their worry with a calming bath or a walk in nature, it can seem easy to dismiss anxiety as a “mere” symptom of stress. But anxiety disorder is a very real illness in which the anxiety is both extreme and debilitating. It can be diagnosed and treated.
Anxiety myth #2: Only weak people have anxiety.
Fact: We all have fears, and those fears don’t make us weak. A person can be strong in every way and still have anxiety triggered by say, a fear of small spaces. To define that entire person based on their anxiety is counterfactual and denies everything else that makes them who they are.
Anxiety myth #3: Anxiety is the result of trauma.
Fact: There is no single situation or condition that causes anxiety disorders. Although traumatic life experience can result in anxiety, it is not the only factor that does. Anxiety can also be the result of heredity and brain chemistry in combination with other environmental triggers that differ from one person to the other. These triggers are not always traumatic incidents.
Anxiety myth #4: Real anxiety is uncommon.
Fact: Millions of Americans live with some form of anxiety. In fact, according the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) one in five people experience some type of anxiety disorder in any given year. Some of the most frequent types of anxiety include social phobia, generalized anxiety, separation anxiety, panic disorder, agoraphobia, post-traumatic stress disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Anxiety myth #5: People with anxiety should avoid stressful situations.
Fact: The habit of avoiding the things that cause anxiety (crowds, spiders, open space, etc.) actually works to reinforce the anxiety. Many mental health professionals believe that the more a person learns to cope with (rather than avoid) the things that stress them out, the more they are able to master their fears and phobias.
Anxiety myth #6: Anxiety will go away if you don’t dwell on it.
Fact: If left untreated, anxiety disorder can lead to depression and addiction. It won’t go away on its own. Those who attempt to ignore their anxiety often self-medicate with drugs and alcohol. Although it may seem to smooth out the rough edges in the moment, eventually substance abuse and its symptoms result in even more anxiety.
Anxiety myth #7: People with anxiety are just high-strung.
Fact: People with anxiety disorder need help overcoming their condition. Although to others, it may seem like a matter of just being high-strung, or just needing to “snap out of it,” learning to manage an anxiety disorder often requires the care of a mental health professional.
We can help.
If you’re experiencing debilitating anxiety, either generalized or from a specific fear or phobia, we can help you. Anxiety disorder is a treatable condition, and at Alvarado Parkway Institute in San Diego, we treat all kinds of anxiety disorders. We will tailor a treatment program specifically to help you manage your condition so you can get on with living a beautiful and abundant life.
To schedule a consultation, fill out the contact form on our website or give us a call today. Our crisis line is available 24 hours a day: 619-667-6125.