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Debunking the myths of anxiety
by TeenHelp November 7th 2015, 06:56 AM

Debunking the myths of anxiety
By Jenny (coolkid98)

There are many misconceptions about anxiety which can make it hard for people with anxiety to reach out and get support and advice. Anxiety is a feeling of nervousness or unease about something which usually has a uncertain outcome, such as a test or social situation.

Myth: Anxiety isn't a real mental illness.
Fact: Anxiety is a mental condition and according to statistics from the Mental Health Foundation, anxiety is estimated to affect 3.3% of children and young adults living in the United Kingdom. Although some anxiety is natural, an anxiety disorder is an extreme form of anxiety which causes impairment.

Myth: A person can lose control or pass out during a panic attack.
Fact: A panic attack causes an increase in heart rate and blood pressure, this means that a person won't pass out due to having a panic attack. The typical treatment for someone who has panic attacks is for them to learn that they are having a panic attack and that when the attack is over, nothing bad will happen to the person.

Myth: People with anxiety should just avoid situations that cause them stress.
Fact: Sometimes this may be impossible as being in a situation that causes stress could be part of a person's life, for example, going to school or the shops. Although avoiding stress may sound like a good way to reduce anxiety, it may actually lead to negative consequences. Avoiding situations that cause anxiety reinforce the disorder rather than aid in recovery.

Myth: Some people just worry too much and this cannot be treated.
Fact: In fact, anxiety can be treated, and there are a variety of treatments including having therapy, taking medication and slowly exposing a person to their source of anxiety so that they can learn to cope with it. An example of the therapy that may be used to treat anxiety is cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT); this is a talking therapy that helps to treat anxiety by changing the way a person thinks and behaves.

Myth: Anxiety will get better in time and go away on its own.
Fact: In fact, if left untreated, anxiety can actually get worse and it rarely goes away on its own. Some people may also suffer from another mental condition such as depression, which can make the anxiety worse. This can be helped and an individual can live a happy and fulfilling life with effective treatment.

Myth: Therapy isn't an effective treatment for anxiety and takes a long time to see an improvement in a person's anxiety.
Fact: A person is usually able to see the benefit of having therapy such as CBT after a few sessions; although the time it takes for therapy to be effective in helping someone overcome anxiety varies from person to person.

Myth: There is nothing that can be said to an anxious person to make them feel more relaxed.
Fact: This is far from the truth and there are many ways that one can help a person suffering from anxiety. The best way to help is to ask the person how you can be of assistance and what you can do to help them deal with their situation. It's important to ask how to help someone so what is done is beneficial. Don't assume that you know what they need as everyone is different and it could actually do more harm than good.

Myth: Every person experiences anxiety in the same way.
Fact: Every person, including those suffering from the same anxiety disorder, will experience anxiety differently. A person suffering from the same type of anxiety disorder may be anxious about certain situations whilst another person may have general social anxiety and experience anxiety in the majority of social situations.

Myth: Anxiety stems from childhood issues.
Fact: Anxiety can be caused by lots of things, therefore one shouldn't assume that someone has developed anxiety due to situations from their childhood. While previous experiences can have an affect on anxiety, someone could have a great childhood and still experience anxiety later on in their life.

Myth: A person with anxiety should always carry a paper bag with them in case they hyperventilate.
Fact: Even though doing this may make a person feel safe and prepared, if they have a panic attack, it doesn't actually help anxiety. It causes the anxiety to be maintained due to the expectation that they need to have the bag with them at all times.

Myth: A person can recover from their anxiety by only using self-help materials.
Fact: Although self-help programs and materials can help a person cope and overcome their anxiety, it actually only helps to treat and overcome mild forms of anxiety. People who experience a more severe type of anxiety are unable to gain lasting success without professional help, for example, having therapy or medication.

Anxiety is a mental health condition that can affect anyone of any age, gender or background. It can be successfully treated by a professional using therapy, medication and other treatments. It is important to note that anxiety is experienced by every person differently and therefore treatments vary from person to person.
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