Unmasking Anxiety: 6 Common Misconceptions About Anxiety

Henna Geronimo
March 17, 2023

Anxiety is a normal feeling of unease, worry, or fear. However, it may be considered Generalized Anxiety Disorder or GAD when anxiety grows too intense and lingers for extended periods.

This mental health condition affects millions of people worldwide. Despite its prevalence, there are still myths surrounding it that can lead to harmful attitudes and behaviors. Addressing these is crucial for creating a more supportive and compassionate society.

To gain more insights about this condition, we’ll go over the common misconceptions about anxiety, where they stem from, and what treatments are available if it becomes difficult to manage. Brimming with helpful facts, tips, and advice — let’s kickstart the conversation!

misconceptions about anxiety
Source: Roots TMS

6 Common Misconceptions About Anxiety

Many people with anxiety disorders face stigma and struggle to get the help they need because of misinformation. Here are the common misconceptions about anxiety that need to be debunked.

Misconception #1: People with Anxiety Are Weak

The first misconception is that those who suffer anxiety are weak. However, in reality, it can affect people from all walks of life, regardless of their abilities.

Anxiety is a natural response to stress and danger. It’s the body’s way of alerting us to potential threats, which can be beneficial in certain situations. Unfortunately, for those with a generalized anxiety disorder, this feeling can be intense to the point that it interferes with everyday life.

Recognizing that anxiety is a mental illness and not a sign of failure is crucial in destigmatizing this disorder.

Misconception #2: Anxiety is Always Negative

Contrary to popular belief, anxiety isn’t always negative. Many people diagnosed with anxiety disorder experience growth and understanding of themselves by relieving their symptoms.

Although a debilitating condition, managing GAD allows individuals to become more productive, creative, and content in areas of life that were previously very challenging.

The misconception around anxiety being nothing but negative often demonstrates an inadequate view of the condition and ignores its potential to create positive personal growth.

Source: Pexels.com

Misconception #3: Everyone Experiences Anxiety the Same Way

Anxiety may be a universal feeling, but it manifests differently for everyone. No two people will experience the same severity or get similar symptoms. It can be expressed in varying ways, from physical tension and emotional responses to cognitive distortions or avoidance behaviors. Understanding this concept enables us to treat our own anxiety better or help someone else work through theirs without assumptions.

Misconception #4: Anxiety is A Temporary Feeling That You Can Easily Overcome

Anxiety is not always a fleeting emotion. For most people coping with this illness, it can be a long-term struggle that requires more than just a positive attitude and extra willpower.

It is vital to understand that anxiety is an emotional state caused by multiple factors, from genetic dispositions to environmental conditions, and requires professional help and lifestyle changes to manage properly.

Misconception #5: Anxiety Can Be Cured Completely, And It Doesn’t Return Once Treated

One of the misconceptions about anxiety is that it can be “cured completely.” Unfortunately, this is a myth – generalized anxiety disorder requires ongoing management and treatment to keep symptoms at bay. Many factors can contribute to an increase or decrease in symptoms over time, such as stress at home or work, physical illness, or medication changes.

Adopting healthy coping skills such as relaxation exercises, regular exercise, and engaging in meaningful activities can also help combat anxiety daily. GAD isn’t something that can be “fixed” forever. You must stay on top of it and take proactive steps for long-term success.

misconception about generalized anxiety disorder
Source: Roots TMS

Misconception #6: Anxiety Can Be Cured Through Positive Thinking

It is also a common misconception that you can cure anxiety through positive thinking. While having a positive attitude in life certainly has its merits, anxiety does not magically disappear by choosing to look at the bright side of things.

Everyone experiences stressors and can develop negative thought patterns; however, this does not necessarily result in an anxiety disorder. More specific interventions, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy or medication, may be required to effectively manage and treat anxiety, especially if feelings of worry or distress become overwhelming or frequent.

Remember: the aim is not to be merely optimistic but to generate an understanding of underlying thoughts associated with anxiety and gain vital coping strategies.

What Works As Anxiety Treatment?

Treatment for anxiety can feel overwhelming and intimidating, but seeking proper care is essential to have a more balanced life. You may consider trying these practical treatment approaches:

  • Psychotherapy: A type of talk therapy that involves working with a licensed counselor to learn coping strategies and address the root causes of anxiety.
  • Medications: This includes antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications, such as SSRIs and benzodiazepines, which can help reduce anxiety symptoms.
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT): This type of psychotherapy helps people pinpoint and change negative thought patterns and behaviors contributing to anxiety.
  • Exposure therapy: This therapy gradually exposes people to anxiety-provoking situations in a safe and controlled environment to reduce their anxiety response.
  • Relaxation techniques: Activities like yoga, meditation, and deep breathing can help reduce anxiety symptoms and promote relaxation.
  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS): It is a non-invasive procedure that uses magnetic fields to stimulate the brain, which could be effective for treatment-resistant anxiety.

misconceptions about anxiety CA
Source: Pexels.com

Different treatments work for different people, and it may take some time to find the right combination that works for you. It’s essential to consult a mental health professional to develop an appropriate treatment plan.

By educating ourselves about anxiety myths and facts, we can remove the stigma associated with this condition and pave the way toward a more compassionate society. While there is no “quick fix” for an anxious brain, there are a variety of treatment approaches and management resources that can help individuals improve their quality of life.

Let us continue to work towards dismantling the taboo surrounding mental health issues by engaging in open and honest conversations about anxiety. By striving towards greater understanding and support, we can create a more inclusive space for everyone to feel empowered in their journeys towards healing and growth.

At Roots TMS, we understand the challenges of managing anxiety. That said, we offer TMS, a practical, drug-free treatment option. We invite anyone interested in learning more about our services to contact us today!

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Henna Geronimo