The internet is abounding with information about anxiety, it’s causes, treatments and how to avoid it. But still, we have a generation of people who don’t quite understand anxiety or how anxiety therapy can be beneficial to them or someone they know who is suffering from it. Debunking these myths is the only way our society will finally see the merit in anxiety therapy and encourage a loved one to reach out to a professional for help.
Therapy isn’t needed for anxiety; sleep/exercise/a change of scenery is.
Simply exercising, sleeping more and getting out of the house may provide temporary relief, but it doesn’t address the real situation. And while these activities are also important in maintaining a healthy lifestyle, they aren’t cures for anxiety. Anxiety therapy uses cognitive behavioral therapy to help a person cope with panic attacks, obsessive thoughts, incapacitation phobias, etc.
Anxiety therapy is just going to teach you how to avoid stress.
Avoiding stressful situations can help to a certain extent, completely evading stress is virtually impossible. In fact, some stress can be good. According to Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), “Treating yourself as if you are fragile and avoiding risk leads to feeling demoralized. Avoiding anxiety tends to reinforce it.” Anxiety therapy can help you reduce worry and suffering, as well as teach you coping mechanisms and how to manage emotions.
Medications offered at a therapy session are strong and can be addicting.
First-line antidepressant medications, such as SSRI and SNRI for anxiety are not addicting, according to ADAA. This way of thinking suggests that most psychological problems are caused by biochemistry, rather than viewing biochemical changes as a symptom.
You don’t need a therapist unless things get really bad.
Contrary to popular belief (therapy is only necessary if there’s a chronic or debilitating issue), treatment for anxiety is more than a last resort. While it’s true that most people will experience some form of anxiety or depression in their lives, the types of individuals that visit a therapist vary. Not everyone who sees a therapist has experienced a manic episode or been hospitalized. Therapy patients are everyday people that may need assistance in moving past a difficult or tragic life event, managing feelings of worry or simply learning how to cope with life changes.
Therapy is passive. You just need someone to listen to you.
This misconception definitely comes from Hollywood. Try to think of movie scenes featuring someone participating in a therapy session. What is happening? Is the “patient” lying on a leather chaise lounge while the therapist silently jots down notes and nods accordingly? Having someone to speak with about your feelings of anxiety is important, but it isn’t the end all, be all of anxiety therapy. Active listening skills are fundamental to therapy treatment, but a consummate professional should personalize his or her methods for your particular situation.
At North Brooklyn Marriage and Family Therapy, our therapists have the skills that can help you cope and manage feelings of anxiety and depression at both our Williamsburg and Greenpoint locations. If you or someone you know is ready to experience life-changing therapy, please contact us today.