ANX­I­ETY: FACT OR FIC­TION

Friday - - Well-being -

Dr Rasha Bas­sim throws light on a list of myths and mis­con­cep­tions as­so­ci­ated with anx­i­ety disor­der.

Like other men­tal health disor­ders, anx­i­ety is falsely thought to re­sult from, or be a sign of, a weak per­son­al­ity with an in­abil­ity to en­dure stress. The re­al­ity is that anx­i­ety is a men­tal disor­der re­sult­ing from a com­plex dis­play of bi­o­log­i­cal fac­tors (ge­netic, hor­monal, bio­chem­i­cal) and so­cial fac­tors (child­hood up­bring­ing and other life ex­pe­ri­ences). There are many myths that are as­so­ci­ated with anx­i­ety disor­ders. Let’s clear those up.

Myth There is only one type of anx­i­ety disor­der.

Truth There are many types of anx­i­ety disor­ders. These are: Gen­er­al­ized anx­i­ety disor­der Ob­ses­sive com­pul­sive disor­der Panic disor­der Post-trau­matic stress disor­der Pho­bias So­cial anx­i­ety Myth Med­i­ca­tion is the only form of treat­ment for anx­i­ety.

Truth Cog­ni­tive be­havioural ther­apy is the core treat­ment. Med­i­ca­tion can be pre­scribed in cases of more se­vere disor­ders.

Myth It is usu­ally ob­vi­ous when some­one has anx­i­ety.

Truth Not true! You might be sit­ting next to a well-groomed smil­ing young woman or man who is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing heart pal­pi­ta­tions, has tin­gling in both hands, a dry mouth and chest tight­ness and you could have no idea.

Myth You just need to eat healthily, sleep well and ex­er­cise and your anx­i­ety will go away.

Truth Yes, this ad­vice is very im­por­tant to ease the symp­toms, how­ever the disor­der will not be cured. You need to do more than just re­duce lev­els of stress – you need to learn more about your symp­toms, un­der­stand your thought pro­cesses, and re-learn how to process stress­ful sit­u­a­tions in your life.

Myth You don’t have to treat it, it can go away on its own.

Truth Anx­i­ety does not fade away on its own, and if left un­treated, it gets com­pli­cated with new symp­toms, and can lead to de­pres­sion. Myth Anx­i­ety disor­ders are not com­mon. Truth Anx­i­ety disor­der is the one of the most com­mon men­tal health ill­ness. Ac­cord­ing to the WHO, anx­i­ety disor­der is the most preva­lent and can im­pact up to 18.2 per cent of the pop­u­la­tion.

Myth Med­i­ca­tions for anx­i­ety are ad­dic­tive.

Truth There are a num­ber of anti-anx­i­ety med­i­ca­tions used for the treat­ment of anx­i­ety that are not ad­dic­tive. A qual­i­fied psy­chi­a­trist can ad­vise on these. Myth Anx­i­ety at­tacks will make you faint. Re­al­ity You may feel dizzy, but it is un­likely that you will faint.

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