Breaking the Stigma: Debunking Common Misconceptions About Anxiety

Everyone experiences bouts of anxiety from time to time. In fact, anxiety is a helpful emotion that provides us with information and helps to keep us safe. But while experiencing some anxiety is normal, those individuals suffering with anxiety disorders may feel anxiety throughout most of their day and it may interfere significantly with their health, sense of self, professional lives, and relationships. Unfortunately, there are various misconceptions about anxiety that impede individuals seeking treatment.

Here are just three of those myths, debunked.

  1. Anxiety isn’t a “real” problem.

If your anxiety is interrupting your life, it is a very real problem. Anxiety disorders cost the U.S. more than 42 billion dollars a year (almost 1/3 of the country’s total mental health bill). More than half of those costs are associated with the repeated use of health care services and treating symptoms that mimic physical illnesses. Untreated anxiety can also lead to or accompany issues like depression and substance abuse.

  1. It’s not common and affects only adults.

It may surprise you to learn that around 18% of the entire U.S. population — or roughly 40 million adults over the age of 18 — have an anxiety disorder. And anxiety does not only impact adults, but it significantly effects children as well. One in eight children have an anxiety disorder which can lead to poor school performance, avoidance of positive developmental experiences, and later risk for substance abuse issues if left untreated.

  1. Avoidance is one way to effectively manage stress and anxiety.

When we avoid stressful situations our anxiety is reduced in the moment. But this often makes anxiety worse in the long term and reinforces the idea that we can only feel better when we avoid these stressful situations. A highly trained CBT therapist can help you assess patterns of avoidance and identify thoughts and beliefs that contribute to this avoidance. With a collaborative approach a CBT therapist can help you learn ways to face stressful situations and gain a sense of efficacy in your life.

If you think you may be struggling with an anxiety disorder and are seeking therapists in CT, our staff at CBT Westport may be able to help you. For more information, get in touch with us today.