First, anxiety is a mental illness that affects millions of people all over the world. In fact, in the US alone, there are more than 40-million people with the condition, making it the most common mental health issue in America. With a problem of this size, it’s surprising how little most people, including those with the illness, know about it. To help remedy this issue and break the stigma surrounding mental illness, here are 6 important facts about anxiety.
Facts About Anxiety #1: Genetics Play A Role
When one or both of your parents have an anxiety disorder such as panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), social anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder, there’s a much higher chance you will experience some form of anxiety in your life. Researchers have many theories about exactly what causes anxiety and know that environment, upbringing, and life experiences also play a role in developing the condition.
Facts About Anxiety #2: Anxiety Can Affect You Physically
Many people assume that anxiety only causes mental and emotional symptoms, but the physical effects can be traumatic and painful too. Nausea, heart palpitations, headaches, chest pain, muscle tension, and many more are examples of what can happen during anxiety episodes. These symptoms are different for everyone, of course, but they’re just as real and scary as the emotional and mental ones.
Facts About Anxiety #3: Help Is Rarely Sought
Considering how common this mental illness is, a shockingly small number of people seek help and treatment for their anxiety. With only a third of people receiving the support they need, two-thirds live under the radar, ignoring the problem or trying to deal with it themselves. While there are ways to help yourself and reduce symptoms, seeking professional advice is best.
Facts About Anxiety #4: Other Illnesses Are Connected
Anxiety is an illness that can trigger depression, stress-related illnesses, and even drug addiction. This is primarily because anxiety can create isolation and hurt relationships. On top of that, throwing medications in the mix can alter personality and energy levels. For example, benzodiazepines are a type of medication commonly prescribed to those with anxiety, which, even when taken as prescribed, can lead to drug dependency. If you stop taking these drugs suddenly, you might require benzo withdrawal help for the symptoms you experience.
Facts About Anxiety #5: The Fear Is Real
It may seem to outsiders that anxiety is irrational and not real. However, to those with anxiety disorders, I assure you, it is more than real. It can feel like the world is ending or that death is imminent. It is never helpful to tell someone who is having a panic attack that something isn’t real or valid. They won’t hear you. It is best to listen to what they are saying and give support that makes sense to the anxiety sufferer, even if it doesn’t make sense to you.
Facts About Anxiety #6: There’s Strength in Struggle
As horrendous as anxiety sounds and is, it has some positive attributes. The condition helps patients to be acutely aware of their surroundings and how they relate to others. This helps to build strength and character, as well as empathy for others who have similar problems. It often creates a desire to be healthier and to find better ways to cope with symptoms. This may include a healthful diet, exercise, ending addictions, seeking counseling, bonding with others, and helping fellow sufferers.