Like many mental illnesses, anxiety often gets categorized as a problem easily fixed. The fact is, anxiety disorders are real, and they require real treatment. This infographic addresses common myths about this mental health issue that often prevent people from taking it seriously and getting treated.
How Myths Harm People With Anxiety Disorders
Why does it matter? People tend to minimize or dismiss mental illness; our culture stigmatizes psychological disorders. Even if the anxiety feels severe, individuals will consider symptoms of constant worry and fear or panic attacks unimportant or shameful.
The result: Most people who end up having a clinical diagnosis of anxiety tend to wait over 10 years to seek treatment. And research shows that untreated anxiety disorders can interfere with a person’s ability to move through life on a daily basis.
Learn more about the misperceptions of anxiety: View the infographic (PDF).
Infographic text: Anxiety 7 Myths vs. Facts
Anxiety that happens occasionally is normal. You might feel anxious when faced with a problem at work or when making important decisions.
Anxiety disorders act differently. They cause distress that interferes with a person’s normal activities. A serious mental illness, clinical anxiety results in constant, overwhelming worry and fear.
- Myths vs. Facts
- Myth: Anxiety isn’t a real “illness” or It’s all in your head!
- Fact: An anxiety disorder is a serious mental illness.
- Myth: Everyone gets stressed out; it’s normal.
- Fact: Everyone as fear, worry and stress sometimes; but daily anxiety that interrupts your life is not normal.
- Myth: Too much anxiety will give you a heart attack.
- Fact: A panic attack can mimic a heart attack, but it can’t kill you.
- Myth: People with anxiety just need tranquilizers and sleeping pills.
- Fact: These may work in the short-term, but they do not help you manage and reduce your anxiety over time.
- Myth: If you have anxiety, you should avoid stressful situations.
- Fact: Avoidance makes things worse; a therapist can help you gradually cope with your anxiety.
- Myth: Talking to a therapist is a waste of time and money
- Fact: Research shows that therapy works; and you only need a few sessions to get the tools you need to improve.
- Myth: Drinking alcohol or smoking marijuana provides the same relief as medication or therapy.
- Fact: Self-medication does not treat anxiety effectively and can even make symptoms worse.
- Anxiety by the Numbers
- About 40 million adults between ages 18-54, or 18%, in percent, in the U.S., have a anxiety disorder
- Anxiety disorders affect one in eight children
- 60% that woman are more likely to have an anxiety disorder than men
- A panic attack can feel like a heart attack. You might feel:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Heart pounding/racing
- Tight stomach
- Chills or heart
- Not sure? Call 911
- Treatment exist; you can find help.