Anxiety Disorder Facts and Myths

Misconceptions of Anxiety Disorders

  • Anxiety disorders are not common.
  • There is only one basic type of anxiety disorder.
  • Anxiety disorder is only caused by genetics.
  • Anxiety disorder is the feeling of being scared and nothing else.
  • Anxiety disorder has the same likelihood in women than in men.

Facts about Anxiety Disorders

The following facts will clear up the myths that are listed above.

  • Fact: Anxiety disorders are more prevalent than you think.

Anxiety disorders are the most common of all mental illness within the United States. It affects about 40 million adults.

  • Fact: There is more than one type of anxiety disorder, there are actually five.

There is generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), panic, posttraumatic stress disorder (PSD) and phobias.

Generalized anxiety disorder

This occurs when a person has constant unrealistic worries about normal things. They feel like there is no way to control what is worrying them and that they are unable to stop it.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

This happens when someone has unwanted, disturbing thoughts, that they are unable to get rid of. People with this develop obsessions, causing obsessive behaviors such as frequent hand washing.

Panic Disorder

This happens unexpectedly and gives the person a fear of a recurring attack on them. Attacks like this can occur randomly, even while the person is sleeping. This is typically developed in early adulthood.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

This occurs in people who have experienced something that is disturbing. This can include life-threatening attacks on them or even seeing it happen to someone else. This can include natural disasters, terrorist attacks, a sudden death of someone they love, war, or a violent personal assault. The person who experiences it often relives the event through flashbacks and nightmares that can occur up to one month after the event took place and can go on for years.

Phobias

There are social phobias which cause people to feel like they are being watched and judged by other people in social settings or for a performance. There are also specific phobias that cause strong and irrational fears toward certain objects, places or situations. These can be very disruptive to daily routines.

Back to the Facts

  • Fact: Anxiety disorders are caused by several different factors.

They can be genetic, if you have a family history of anxiety; it is likely that you may have it too, at some point of your life. Other factors include outside environmental factors, such as stress from work, stress from a traumatic event, financial stress, or use of illegal drugs.

  • Fact: Anxiety disorders cause multiple symptoms that may vary from person to person.

Some of the characteristics that people have reported are restlessness, difficulty in concentrating, chest pain, a feeling of doom and shortness of breath. Everyone's symptoms can be different and their frequencies may vary also.

  • Fact: Some types of anxiety disorder can be as common in men as in women. But most of the time women are more likely to develop them.

In generalized anxiety disorder, panic, posttraumatic stress disorder and with specific phobias women are either two or three times more likely to have than men. In social phobias and obsessive compulsive disorder, men are just as likely to develop it as women.

Additional Information

People with anxiety disorders are much more likely to go to the doctor for a problem that is troubling them (even if it is not as severe as it seems) and they are even more likely to be hospitalized for other psychiatric disorders than people who do not have an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders are very serious and common among Americans. Some people experience them due to biological or environmental aspects. Anxiety disorders bring out different characteristics in people and are not always easy to remedy, and should never be ignored.

Sources:

http://www.webmd.com/anxiety-panic/guide/anxiety-attack-symptoms

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