6 Myths About Anxiety Disorder That Need to Be Debunked

Health News
4 min read
Hindi Female

Move aside the millennials, welcome the glow kids of Gen X – hijacked day and night by the screen, always available socially but find it tough to make eye contact and have a sit-down conversation with a human.

The digital landscape has changed adolescence and the classroom. Technology is used as a crutch, a replacement of real life relationships which help one develop socially.

According to the World Health Organisation, one in eight kids in urban India suffers clinical anxiety or depression before the age of 18-years. And that’s a huge number. We’re not using ‘anxiety’ as a buzzword. We’re talking about the real, tangible clinical illness which often needs more than medication to tide over.

Here are 7 myths about anxiety disorders which you need to STOP believing.


Myth 1: People With Anxiety Are Frail, They Just Can't Handle Their Shit Together

Anxiety is not a sign of weakness. (Photo: iStock altered by The Quint)

Highly insulting.

If you get a fracture do you heal on your own? Same difference!


Myth 2: Anxiety Is All in Your Head

It can be dizziness, overheating, chills, increased heartbeat, chest pain, rapid breathing, headaches. It can be constant muscle tension. It can be exhausting. (Photo: iStock altered by The Quint)

It is a disorder that starts in the brain but no, it is not ‘made up’ or ‘exaggerated’. This is a serious mental illness where the flesh feels bereft of the spirit, the tempest in the brain does not let you sleep, the exhaustion of being trapped in an infinite loop of ‘what-ifs’ leaves the heart pounding wildly, the body physically worn out, nauseous, dizzy and each muscle in tension.

Anxiety affects at three levels – brain, behaviour and the actual experience. It’s not just worrying why your mom is not answering your phone, it is an endless cycle of irrational worry which gets overwhelming. Simple things like getting ready and leaving for school might be an uphill task.


Myth 3: People With Anxiety Should Just Avoid the Situations Which Make Them Anxious

Avoidance can cause anxiety to snowball. Never a good idea. (Photo: iStock)
The more you avoid something, the more the anticipatory anxiety of facing it eventually builds up. Escaping might temporarily solve one issue while bringing up another, so the first step is to recognise that avoidance as a coping strategy doesn’t work.
Dr Karira, Child Psychiatrist

Kindly note that anxiety is not fear of something tangible in front of you. By definition, it is fear gone wild over something which may not even be out there. It is irrational. And if you can specifically point your anxiety to one thing, avoidance is never a good strategy.

(Photo: iStock altered by The Quint)

Myth 4: Anxiety Is ‘Chemical Locha’ in Your Brain

(Photo: iStock altered by The Quint)

Chemical imbalance is just one small part of the puzzle. Genetics, biology, environment, social experience can individually or in combination be the reason for clinical anxiety. And while we’re at it, all anxiety is not the same and everyone experiences it differently. Even if two people have the same degree of social anxiety, the way the disorder manifests itself can be drastically different.


Myth 5: These Disorders Happen to Kids From Broken Homes

Anxiety is not necessarily born from a certain fear or trauma. (Photo: iStock)

Emotional neglect in childhood, sexual abuse, bad parenting can all lead to clinical anxiety in adulthood but that does not imply that these disorders only stem from a traumatic childhood.


Myth 6: Chill, Have a Drink and You'll Be Fine

Drinking is fun, who doesn’t knock off a couple of glasses after work to blow some steam? But alcohol and anxiety are a horrible concoction so don’t push your friend suffering from this disorder to take some edge off with a glass of beer. Doesn’t work and can be a gateway to long-term alcohol addiction.

Lastly, anxiety is a real illness. It can be a downward spiral spinning out of control. If you want to help your friend with their illness, ask them what would be helpful during a relaxed, non-panicked time. Get them medical help and assure that they are not alone.

These helpline numbers will lend a ear to those in distress. (Photo: Nikita Mishra/The Quint)

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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Topics:  Depression   Mental Health   Anxiety 

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