Anxiety disorders are the most commonly occurring mental disorders. In public perception, they are really similar to depressive disorders. We feel anxious or fearful when we are in a stressful situation. A feeling of anxiety may be called a disorder if it doesn’t go away with the stressful situation and if it starts hampering with your everyday life.

Anxiety Disorders

There are various times when our palms get sweaty, our knees feel weak and arms feel heavy. Apart from being lyrics to an Eminem song, these are also the feelings of someone who is suffering from an anxiety disorder, all the time. They are a broad group of mental illnesses like Generalized Anxiety Disorder, specific phobias, PTSD, OCD or Panic disorders among many others

I have previously talked about OCD and will discuss the other illnesses in the weeks to come. Women and young people are more susceptible to developing a disorder. This is explained by the high hormonal activity, care giving stress and higher tendency to seek comfort than men. Youngsters find themselves under a lot of pressure from peers and parents. This leads to development of phobias and panic disorders in the teen years.

Myths about Anxiety

As is with most mental illnesses, there are a lot of myths about it that are doing the rounds presently. These include referring to it as a blown up version of stress, calling it shyness and believing that it is a temporary problem and fixes itself. There are many articles which address these issues so I am going to focus on the lesser known myths about these disorders. These are things that people believe they know but it is faulty as well.

·        Myth 1: Never Ending Compassion Helps

On face value, this may seem like a pretty good idea but if really applied, it could actually do more harm than good. When someone close to us has an anxiety disorder, it is important that we give them the help they need. It is also very important that we don’t end up insulating them completely from the outside world. We must be the nets to fall back on for a person with anxiety. We need to be people who can get others up again when they fall. What we must not be is a thick coat of compassion which protects them all the time. We need to be nets, not wrappings.

·        Myth 2: It is Glamorized Shyness

This has actually not been disproved with totality yet. There are debates among scientists about what the definition of shyness is and how it differs from social phobias. Another important distinction is that shyness may have social anxiety as a component but social anxiety doesn’t include shyness as a trait. People may be shy because of social anxiety but not the other way around.

There is a lot that the general public doesn’t know about anxiety. It is accepted as a symptom of various illnesses but not as a disorder by itself. There are many things that people believe are true about it but don’t have any scientific backing as yet. Anxiety disorders are a group of mental illnesses and I will discuss many of them in the next month.

It will give me and you an opportunity to learn something more.