panic attack myths

5 Myths About Panic Attacks

Only 36.9 percent of the 40 million American adults with anxiety disorders seek treatment for their conditions. A lack of treatment can cause emotional symptoms to worsen and even hurt their physical health. Several factors may keep people with panic attacks from seeking treatment. For example, lack of access to affordable treatment can be a problem. Another issue is the misinformation about panic attacks and anxiety in general. Even though anxiety is the most common type of mental disorder in the country, many people continue to believe falsehoods about the disorder, which causes the stigma that keeps people from getting help. Raise awareness by learning the truth behind some of the most pervasive myths about panic attacks and anxiety.

Myth 1: Only “Crazy” or “Weak” People Have Panic Attacks

Many people believe that those who have panic attacks are weak-minded, crazy, dramatic, or otherwise “less than.” The truth is that anyone can have a panic attack, even people with tough exteriors or previously healthy mental states. It’s similar to the way anyone can develop serious physical illnesses, and those disorders say nothing of their moral character or mental fortitude. Panic disorder is a treatable illness and should be viewed as such.People do not have panic attacks due to some personal flaw. Instead, these reactions happen when people are overwhelmed or not properly dealing with stressors in their lives. 

Myth 2: People who Have Panic Attacks Just Want Attention

Instead of equating panic with weakness, some people do not believe panic attacks are real at all. Instead, people who have never had panic attacks may believe that others are faking their symptoms in order to get attention. Nothing could be further from the truth. Panic attacks are:

  • Real
  • Serious
  • Distressing
  • And Treatable

When someone is in the middle of a panic attack, he or she may believe in some irrational things. For example, someone who makes a small mistake at work may feel like he is going to get fired. Although this seems dramatic from the outside, it’s very real to the person feeling it. The physical symptoms are equally real and can include rapid heart rate, increased blood pressure, and trouble breathing.

Myth 3: Only People with Anxiety Disorder Have Panic Attacks

Some people have the symptoms and signs of a panic attack, but do not believe that’s what happened because they are not anxious otherwise. Although people who have anxiety disorders are more likely to have panic attacks than their peers, anybody can have a panic attack. If you believe you may have had a panic attack, you can seek treatment to keep it from happening again, even if you do not have other anxiety symptoms. 

Myth 4: Panic Attacks Cause People to Dissociate from Reality

Another thing that keeps people from getting help for panic attacks is a misunderstanding of what they are. Some people believe that panic attacks cause people to separate from reality, which may include speaking in tongues, hearing voices, or seeing hallucinations. While these symptoms signal that someone is having a mental health episode, they are not characteristic of panic attacks. 

Myth 5: There’s No Help for People with Panic Disorder

Panic disorder is highly treatable. Patients and their care teams choose among several treatment routes, including medications and cognitive behavioral therapy. Qualified professionals can help patients learn healthy coping mechanisms and address the underlying problems that cause panic attacks. If you believe you may suffer from panic disorder, contact a Georgia therapist today. The knowledgeable and compassionate professionals at our facilities can help you take the next steps toward healing. 

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