Like depression, anxiety can be an overrated mental health issue. We all suffer from anxiety sometimes but how do we know when it’s time to seek help? What are the real symptoms of anxiety? And what are its causes?

Anxiety is the most common mental health condition among many developed nations, such as Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. Lack of awareness, plus the circulating myths can make dealing with anxiety problems even more challenging. Here are some of the most common misconceptions about anxiety.

Myth #1: Having anxiety isn’t a big deal

Reality: Anxiety disorders can accompany and/or potentially lead to other illnesses, such as depression and substance abuse.

Myth #2: Anxiety disorders are not so common

Reality: Forty-five percent of people in Australia alone will probably experience a mental health condition in their lives. In any one year, up to a million Australian adults have depression, and over 2 million have anxiety, according to beyondblue.

Slightly more women are affected than men, and the condition is most common in people as early as in their late teens to mid-twenties. An anxiety disorder is one of the most prevalent mental health issues affecting young and old alike.

Myth #3: The disorder will resolve on its own

Reality: While some people recover from anxiety on their own, it’s important to have it treated. Over time, anxiety disorders can develop into serious conditions like depression. There are several methods to treat anxiety, including psychotherapy, hypnotherapy and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).

Myth #5: Anxiety is all about fear

Reality: While many cases of anxiety originate from excessive fear, the condition can also be genetic. It can also be associated with certain medical conditions, such as anaemia, asthma, several heart conditions and infections. Stress can also bring on anxiety problems.

Myth #6: No one can ease an anxious person

Reality: Even though you are not a trained therapist, there are many ways to offer help and support to those suffering from anxiety disorders. The best approach is to ask questions instead of making assumptions regarding what they need, like “Is there anything I can do to make you feel better?”

Myth #7: A drink or two can soothe anxiety

Reality: A study reported in the Archives of General Psychiatry found that despite the risks, people suffering from anxiety try to relieve it by self-medicating with drugs or alcohol. You might think that the best way to deal with anxiety is to have a drink but it can in fact worsen the condition. Substance abuse can eventually reinforce anxiety.

Myth #7: To ward off anxiety, avoid things that you fear

Reality: Anxiety specialists recommend facing your fears instead of running away from them. “Avoidance is not a good strategy,” says David Spiegel, Associate Chair of Psychiatry and Behavioural sciences at Stanford University. He contends that the more we avoid what we’re fearful of, the more anxious we become. On the other hand, the more you expose yourself to your fears, the more you are able to overcome them.

Myth #8: Tranquilisers and sleeping pills work best for anxiety

Reality: Although medications are commonly recommended for anxiety sufferers, they only provide a temporary solution and never address the root cause of the problem, which is the key component for recovery. What’s more, these medications have side effects, which bring their own slew of problems to deal with. Anxiety is best treated with mindset therapies like NLP and hypnosis, assertiveness training, exercise, or complementary therapies, such as aromatherapy or massage.

Myth #9: Therapy for anxiety can take forever

Reality: This is not the case, in fact, improvements can be apparent after only a few sessions. Hypnosis patients, for instance, can experience up to a 50% reduction in symptoms from the virtual outset. Combining treatments is also an effective way to achieve even faster results, complemented with ongoing ‘therapy homework’ outside of the session.

Anxiety disorders are real and can be life-threatening. Like many other mental health conditions, anxiety symptoms can­ – if not treated appropriately – deteriorate into more serious conditions. Anxiety can strike anyone at any point in their life. But with the right treatment and understanding, it’s possible to overcome this often debilitating condition.


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Richard Scott combines psychology, NLP and CBT with over 12 years’ professional, full-time experience in traditional and modern hypnosis to deliver the fastest, most successful results.

He specialises in anxiety, weight issues, self-esteem and empowering women.

If you need assistance with any form of anxiety, Richard can help, get in contact for a free rapid change consultation.