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Common Misconceptions About Anxiety

By Advekit

Posted on June 04, 2019

One of the hardest things about dealing with anxiety is dealing with uninformed people who voice their opinions. Often people who don’t suffer from anxiety seem to be the ones who have the strongest opinions about it. Their misconceptions about the condition might prevent a person from seeking the treatment they need.  


Common misconceptions

Let’s debunk several common myths and misconceptions about anxiety in order to destigmatize the condition and encourage you to seek help. 

 

Common Misconceptions About Anxiety

 

“People With Anxiety Are Mentally Weak”

 

A common, ill-conceived notion about anxiety is if you suffer from it, you lack the mental fortitude and constitution to fight it off. While some anxieties can stem from fears, fear is by no means the only contributing factor. The effects of anxiety are real and often need the assistance of a mental health professional to figure out coping strategies. The “anxiety means mental-weakness” mindset fails to account for the fact that a person l with anxiety could also be suffering from other issues, including:

 

  • Physical, sexual, or verbal abuse.
  • Traumatic past experiences.
  • Genetic preconditions.

 

The notion that “if only they’d just stop thinking that way, then they’d be fine,” is erroneous and fails to understand the effects of anxiety. In the vast majority of cases, simply willing yourself to not feel anxious is impossible. In fact, it can actually create more anxiety. It can take months, if not longer, of pointed therapeutic assistance to reach the point where you’re able to adjust your behaviors and thought patterns to alleviate or prevent anxiety or panic attacks. So, while there are treatments available to help you treat your anxiety, it does not feel like a simple process for the person struggling.

 

“Having Anxiety Isn't a Big Deal”

 

While situational anxiety can be a normal or healthy response, a persistent feeling of anxiety is not. In certain cases, anxiety can cause health impairments and ramifications. Physical and psychological symptoms include:

 

  • Mental health problems – depression, suicidality, anxiety, and personality disorders.
  • Cardiovascular issues – high blood pressure, arrhythmia, heart disease, stroke, and cardiac arrest.
  • Eating disorders – anorexia, bulimia, and obesity.
  • Sexual dysfunction – menstrual complications, impotence, premature ejaculation, and low libido.
  • Gastrointestinal issues – irritable bowel syndrome, gastritis, and ulcerative colitis.
  • Skin issues – acne, eczema, and psoriasis.
  • Hair issues – permanent hair loss.

 

In addition to the physical symptoms, anxiety can deeply impact your interpersonal relationships and work life, or might cause you to turn to substance abuse as a temporary remedy. It’s important that you seek professional treatment if you’re struggling with anxiety. 

 

“Anxiety is The Result of a Poor Childhood”

 

People who grew up in happy and financially stable families can also develop anxiety therapy is focused on dealing with the here and now. While childhood and past issues may need addressing, they rarely are the sole cause for anxiety conditions.

 

“If You Have Anxiety, Avoid Situations That Might Cause Stress”

 

This mindset will not help alleviate your stress and anxiety. Life is filled with stressful and uncomfortable situations and that’s okay. What matters is how you handle them. Avoiding stress or fear in your life often gives these fears more power over you.

 

A large component of therapy involves being desensitized to the causes of your anxiety. Applying the techniques learned in therapy helps you to confront anxious situations or things you fear. The more you confront the aspects of life that cause you anxiety, the more awareness and control of your life you will have.

 

 

“A Drink or a Hit Will Help”

 

Many people who suffer from anxiety make the mistake of attempting to self-medicate to relieve their anxiety. They try to use alcohol, marijuana, or illicit substances to take the edge off. While this short-term solution might feel as though it’s helping at the moment, it opens up a Pandora’s Box of possible negative ramifications, the foremost being addiction, and substance abuse. 


There is an incredibly high comorbidity between mental health issues and drug addiction. They tend to feed off one another. The fact is, relying upon any substance to fix your problem will only make things worse. So, if you’re suffering from anxiety, it’s important to seek out professional therapy instead of trying to self-medicate.

 

Finding Help

 

There are a whole host of common misconceptions about anxiety. Anxiety can be a debilitating disorder, so take it seriously and seek out help. If you are someone who suffers from this condition, please know that anxiety is treatable. To start, find the right match for a therapist who’ll work with you to create a treatment roadmap that is best suited to your needs. With Advekit, you can start that process by being connected to recommended mental health professionals.

 

Get Matched →

 

Sources

 

Harvard Medical School. Anxiety and Physical Illness. (2018). https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/anxiety_and_physical_illness

 

Regier, D. JAMA. Comorbidity of Mental Disorders with Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse. (1990). https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Darrel_Regier/publication/277548847_Comorbidity_of_mental_disorders_with_alcohol_and_other_drug_abuse_Results_from_the_Epidemiologic_Catchment_Area_ECA_Study/links/57d1806c08ae601b39a1d936.pdf


Reviewed By

Alison LaSov, LMFT

blog-reviewer

Alison LaSov is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist with experience treating clients struggling with anxiety and depression. She predominantly focuses on mental health intervention for children and adolescents, particularly those who are in crisis. She has worked within the Los Angeles education system treating students with Individualized Education Plans (IEPs), as well as supervised a non-profit Teen Crisis Hotline out of Cedars-Sinai Hospital. Alison earned her B.A. from UCLA and M.A. from Pepperdine University. She is a native to Los Angeles and co-founder at Advekit.

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