Anxiety and panic disorders are yet to be fully understood. So it's no surprise that there are tons of myths out their surrounding anxiety and panic disorders. Knowing the facts from the fallacies is important. One need not exacerbate a panic anxiety attack by believing in myths. Below are details and information regarding the ten most-common myths people have about panic disorders:
Myth # 1: "Schizophrenia Causes Panic Disorders"
Not true. During these attacks people may feel like they are going crazy, but this is just a response to the situation. Schizophrenia, is an advanced form of psychosis, panic disorders are not.
Myth # 2: "You lose total control during a Panic Attack"
This is false. They may think that they are 'losing control' but it never comes to a point where people suffering panic attacks actually lose control.
Myth # 3: "Panic Attacks are deadly"
No. It may seem like that for someone having an attack but it's just the body's natural defensive reaction to (an exaggerated) perception of threat or danger. Being a natural body response, these attacks can not kill.
Myth # 4: "Panic Attacks are all in the mind"
True. The majority of panic disorders stem from negative mindsets, nurturing anxious thoughts, and phobias. When a trigger (an object, a person, situation, or fear of another panic attack) occurs people with panic disorders tend to immediately exaggerate that trigger in their minds. This can lead to panic attacks, which sometimes turn into a vicious cycle.
Myth # 5: "A Panic Anxiety Attack can happen to anyone, at anytime, anywhere"
True. However, those suffering from some other forms of Anxiety Disorder (eg General Anxiety Disorder or GAD) are at a bigger risk of having one. Cumulative stress, heavy emotional disturbance, major life changes and negative thinking can all cause panic attacks.
Myth # 6: "Heart problems cause attacks"
Not necessarily true. Recent studies have shown a link between mitral valve prolapse and panic attacks. Although symptoms of panic attacks are similar to heart attacks, that does not make it the reason why panic attacks occur.
Myth # 7: "Substance abuse causes attacks"
True. Smoking increases the likelihood of panic disorders, especially among the youth. Alcoholism, sedative abuse, and addiction to nicotine may also trigger panic attacks.
Myth # 8: "A Panic Anxiety Attack is not really an illness"
The National Institute of Mental Health begs to differ. Panic disorder is a real and serious illness, afflicting 6.8 million Americans today. If left untreated, this can seriously debilitate and affect someone's life.
Myth # 9: "If your parents and grandparents had Panic Disorder, you will too"
True. Genetics has been linked to causing panic disorders that can span generations. However, this is just one of its many known causes and is not the sole basis for diagnosing this disorder.
Myth # 10: "There are no cures for Panic Attacks"
People respond differently to treatments. What might work for some may not be applicable to others. This is why it's important to seek professional help to determine the right treatment program for the individual.