Dispelling Myths: Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety is associated with several common mental disorders, like specific phobias or generalized anxiety disorder. Anxiety is especially high among college students and can often be exacerbated by stressful situations. Due to how common anxiety disorders are, there are many
components of it that people might have misconceptions of, including why certain disorders develop and how to treat them.
Myth #1: Panic attacks can cause you to pass out.
Although common characteristics of a panic attack are the feeling of losing control and possibly dying or passing out, it is very unlikely that someone will pass out due to a panic attack. Passing out would be the result of a drop in blood pressure, whereas a panic attack usually
increases an individual’s blood pressure. If someone passes out during a panic attack, it could be the indication of a different medical problem and they should seek advice from a medical practitioner.
Myth #2: Anxiety disorders are rooted in childhood issues.
Many people might believe that anxiety disorders, or other mental disorders like depression, have roots in someone’s past and that the only way to overcome the disorder is therapy is to tackle their past. However, most effective therapies focus on the present and using techniques that treat the symptoms that are impairing an individual now rather than focusing on the origins of the symptoms. This could also include developing skills to regulate and control one’s emotions, thoughts, and behaviors.
Myth #3: Anxiety medications are addictive and dangerous.
While, there are many possible medications that can be prescribed to help with anxiety, SSRIs and benzodiazepines are the most common. These medications are usually not dangerous or addictive, especially when they are used as prescribed by a doctor and at the proper dosage.
SSRIs and other antidepressants that can be used to battle anxiety medications are not addictive and act on neural pathways in the brain to regulate neurotransmitters. Benzodiazepines, which are also commonly prescribed to help deal with anxiety, can lead to a development of tolerance. While medication can be an effective treatment, research has shown that in many cases therapy can be very helpful in tackling anxiety in the long run.
Myth #4: Avoiding stress and anxiety-provoking situations will help those with anxiety disorders.
Although avoiding the situations and activities that make us anxious might be our first instinct, this can only serve to strengthen our fears and inhibit our functioning in many ways. Just reducing the stressors in your life may not reduce your anxiety, instead you may have to face
your fears and learn new ways to overcome them. This could involve starting therapy or trying to change how you approach, think or feel about a situation. Although tackling your fears head on might sound intimidating at first, you can take the skills that you learn to tackle your worst fears and also apply them to various aspects of your life, adjusting how you react to stressful situations for the better, thereby opening more doors for yourself.
If you are struggling with an anxiety-related disorder or know someone who might be struggling, please feel free to contact the professional team at Lifeline Connections for help! There are several effective therapies when it comes to anxiety disorders that can alleviate debilitating symptoms. You can visit Lifelineconnections.org or call 360.397.8246 for more.