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Dispelling Myths On Anxiety

Someone who experiences panic attacks may fear to have a panic attack again, but fighting a panic attack makes it worse.

© 2015 Ichiban Yada. Licensed under CC-BY.

Various myths exist around the topic of anxiety in our society. It is therefore important to dispel these myths and to come up with solutions that are backed by science, and are not simply predicated on quick and random searches on Google.

Imagine sitting at home and suffering from a panic attack. In a panic attack, the breathing and the heartbeat of the patient get faster. This is a very common occurrence, and its impact can be reduced through cognitive behavioural therapy.

What happens to the body during a panic attack? The brain sends signals to the adrenal glands to release adrenaline—the fight-or-flight hormone. The person’s mouth gets dry. Breathing and heart rates increase. This is known as an ‘adrenaline rush’, and is the equivalent to pouring rocket fuel all over one’s body.

Someone who experiences panic attacks may fear to have a panic attack again, but fighting a panic attack makes it worse. Doing things like breathing exercises or getting out of a building for fresh air sends danger signals to the brain, making a panic attack worse.

In his book, ‘Flagging Anxiety & Panic: How to Reshape Your Anxious Mind and Brain’, Dr. Harry Barry describes a technique in which one does nothing in a panic attack, and simply lets the adrenaline wash over them, as if being glued to the ground. Over time, the brain realizes there is no danger that needs to be averted, and the panic attack subsides. Practices such as breathing into a bag in fact exacerbate the situation.

Substantial social taboos are also often associated with anxiety and many patients are never diagnosed with ailment.

In other words it’s like letting a wave rush over you in regard to the CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Theory). For example going to a supermarket gives you a panic event, then go to the supermarket knowing that nothing can go wrong, walk in there and if you experience any anxiousness rushing over you, then don’t rush out of the supermarket don’t do any trick, just let that anxiousness wash over you, it will be over in few minutes as the stress hormone will be over soon and you will get back to feeling normal, the thing is that once  your brain gets used to the fact that there is nothing wrong with that experience and it is safe for you, that way you will reprogram your mind that actually you’re safe and good and nothing is going wrong. With taking yourself to the same scenarios you will be desensitized and soon you’ll start enjoying the same experience that use to freak you out.

(But make sure you don’t force yourself into actual threatening situations)

Substantial social taboos are also often associated with anxiety and many patients are never diagnosed with ailment. Even if they are diagnosed, they are not subjected to adequate medical treatment. A part of proper treatment is what is called CBT—‘Cognitive Behavioural Therapy’. CBT is a psychological intervention that aims to improve mental health; in simple words, it is talking therapy which helps change the way one thinks or behaves.

I’d encourage my audience reading this article to seek professional help, but also know that the person who can help you the most in your life is yourself. So be an active participant in improving your health. And most importantly the truth of any society is that it tends to stigmatize anything usually out of its own insecurities or ego, that way they classify themselves as normal by calling others anything less, but remember it must not get to you.

Outside opinions of you when grow less important to you, you will seek better help and get better soon.

Though a lot can be said to de-stigmatize mental health, even then people with ignorance will not provide you support and you must not look for people desperate to understand you. You need to help yourself regardless of society’s perception.

Now I’d address the other side of the coin; yet I’d send out this message to community as a whole that when people around you need mental or physical health concern to address to, help them out and if you can’t then at least don’t be a hindrance to it because we are all made up of flesh and blood and any person can face any situation or circumstances in their life, so try to develop empathy, as empathy is a part of mental health. If you think you’re normal enough and good in mental health then try to develop the trait of empathy. Be a constructive member of the society and that will give you more fulfillments.

I’ll sign off from this article with a simple message that yes you can help yourself and also seek help for the best of your mental health. It’s easy for you to achieve your wellbeing then you’ve ever imagined before. The reference to the book that I’ve given might help you or similar books.

You must have noticed by now that the whole article was more in the tone of a conversation, and I deliberately did that so that you connect to it better.

I wish my readers great physical and mental health!

You can do this!


Note: This article does not diagnose or prescribe any treatment. For any medical or mental health condition, seek professional help. This article is not a substitute for professional help. Do not put yourself in actual threatening condition.

The author is not liable for misuse of the material.

Dr.Imbesat Maheen Syed is a clinician, writer, poet, artist and an inspirational speaker; with the intention to make the subject of science easy for anyone.

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