Of all the adults with an anxiety disorder, nearly one in four struggles with such severe symptoms their days fall apart and they can’t function. No matter what type of anxiety you experience, Kevin Joseph, DNP, PMHNP-BC, at Insight Psychiatric Services, can help.


But to overcome anxiety, you have to seek treatment, and that’s a step many people don’t take because of persistent myths about anxiety disorders. Let’s take a closer look at six common anxiety myths.


Myth 1: Anxiety disorders aren’t real


Anxiety is such a common feeling that some people believe anxiety disorders aren’t real. But there’s a distinction between daily worries and an anxiety disorder.


Daily anxiety arises when you face a specific situation. Your worry goes away once it’s over. Anxiety disorders cause fear that’s frequent or constant and often occurs when you don’t face an immediate or anticipated situation.


Daily anxiety serves an important job, because it gives you the energy to deal with your situation. Anxiety disorders cause intense fear or dread, making it hard or impossible to function.


Myth 2: Anxiety goes away on its own


Exercising, meditating, listening to calming music, and mindful relaxation are a few techniques that can lessen your anxiety in the moment. But they don’t cure anxiety disorders.


Anxiety disorders aren’t a temporary phase or one-time situation. They persist until you get professional care. Without treatment, your symptoms worsen and anxiety increasingly limits your life.


Myth 3: All anxiety is the same


Though daily anxiety is similar for everyone, you can develop several types of anxiety disorders, including:



  • Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), unrelenting anxiety over everyday issues
  • Social anxiety disorder, which is anxiety when meeting people or giving presentations
  • Separation anxiety, fear that harm may come to you or your family when separated
  • Specific phobia, intense fear of an object or situation
  • Panic disorder, having sudden, recurrent panic attacks
  • Agoraphobia, which is fear of leaving your home alone or being in a confined space

All types of anxiety cause symptoms like fear, irritability, nervousness, sweating, and nausea. But each anxiety disorder also has its own symptoms.


For example, people with GAD worry excessively about several issues (e.g., family, health, money, car trouble) every day for months or years. Separation anxiety, which affects children and adults, causes such fear of being alone that it may be impossible to go to school or work.


Myth 4: Only adults have anxiety disorders


Anxiety affects one-third of adults and adolescents, making it the most common mental health disorder. Children also struggle with anxiety disorders. Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia reports that 30% of children have an anxiety disorder.


The challenge with children is that parents may not be able to tell if their child’s worries and behaviors are typical for their age or signal a deeper problem with anxiety.


Myth 5: Anxiety treatment requires addictive medications


Benzodiazepines are powerful anti-anxiety medications, and yes, they are addictive. But they’re only prescribed for severe anxiety and panic attacks. They’re also used for a limited time to prevent dependence.


We can prescribe other medications that aren’t addictive like antidepressants, if needed, to ease moderate anxiety. But there’s a good chance you won’t need medication to overcome your anxiety.


Talk therapy is just as effective, and in some cases better than, medication. Cognitive behavioral therapy, the gold standard for treating anxiety disorders, includes several proven techniques that improve anxiety by helping you identify and change negative thoughts, feelings, and actions.


Myth 6: Avoiding stress improves anxiety disorders


Even if you could magically remove all the stress from your life, you still wouldn’t eliminate anxiety. Stress can amplify anxiety, but anxiety disorders are not the result of stress.


Many people with anxiety disorders try to cope by avoiding the stressful things that make them anxious, even going to extremes like not leaving home or calling in sick instead of going to work.


Trying to avoid anxiety (instead of dealing with the underlying thoughts and emotions) only reinforces your fear and worsens your anxiety.


The sooner you seek treatment for an anxiety disorder, the faster you’ll be able to return to the life you enjoy. To start your healing journey, call us at Insight Psychiatric Services in Sunrise, Florida, or request an appointment online today.

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