Do you think that anxiety is just sitting in your head? That you need to know the cause of the anxiety disorder to get well? That it needs to take a long time to treat the anxiety? These are just some of the myths about anxiety that are addressed here.

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Journalist Ingeborg Senneset writes on Aftenposten.no an article that deals with 5 common myths about anxiety. The article is written in consultation with Bjarne Hansen, PhD, psychologist and co-author of the book "101 things we wish we knew when we started treating patients with anxiety disorders".

 

Common myths about anxiety

Here are the myths they list:

 

  1. Anxiety only sits in the head

    No, that's not true, the authors of the article believe: anxiety arises in the interplay between thoughts, feelings, bodily reactions and behavior - and what one must take into account in any anxiety treatment is how all these factors are connected - and not just how people think.

  2. You need to know what the cause of an anxiety disorder is to get well

    No, this is not true either, according to psychologist Bjarne Hansen. It is pointed out, however, that someone in the field claims that it is crucial that one understands why the anxiety is there. According to the psychologist, there are research findings that indicate that anxiety treatment can have a good effect despite the fact that one does not know what is the underlying reason why one has developed an anxiety disorder.  

  3. Treatment of severe anxiety disorders takes a long time

    No, that's not necessarily right either. According to the mentioned authors, it is estimated that 60 to 80% of the patients can achieve a significant improvement from the anxiety disorder in a relatively short time, 5 to 15 conversation sessions.

  4. Symptom-focused treatment does not work in the long run

    No, this is also refuted by the article authors. If the treatment first gives a good effect, it is also the case that the treatment effect for most people remains a lasting change for the better.

  5. "It's just to face the fear"

    No, that is obviously not correct, neither. Everyone who struggles with anxiety has probably tried just this - to face the fear, to defy the fear, to do what you don't really dare - and yet the anxiety remains. This is because anxiety is complex. It is common to need professional assistance in "meeting the fear" properly. Then, on the other hand, it can have a very good effect.

 

The conclusion should then also be clear: Are you struggling with anxiety? Seek professional help! It can be a relatively short-term investment in something that can give you a significantly increased quality of life for a long time to come.

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Written by

ove heradstveit

Ove Heradstveit

Psychologist, specialist in clinical community psychology. PhD.
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