Anxiety myth you’ll always have anxiety disorder – anxietycentre.com electricity electricity lyrics

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Dating back to as early as the 1840s, the medical and mental health communities desired to develop a unified way to classify mental disorders. Not only would this information help classify and standardize phenomenology, etiology, and course of defining features but standardization would also bring much needed credibility to the mental health field.

Through a series of steps through the early 1900s, the American Psychiatric Association developed the first Diagnostic and Statistical Manual: Mental Disorders (DSM-I) in 1952. This was the first official manual of mental disorders to focus on clinical utility.

But how was this manual developed? By mental health clinicians who made up and voted on names, characteristics, and treatment options for the main disorders as they imagined them. In other words, the entire manual was (and continues to be) a fabrication based on made up categories that were voted into existence with none of the diagnoses being supported by objective evidence of physical disease, illness, or science.

“ In short, the whole business of creating psychiatric categories of ‘disease,’ formalizing them with consensus, and subsequently ascribing diagnostic codes to them, which in turn leads to their use for insurance billing, is nothing but an extended racket furnishing psychiatry a pseudo-scientific aura.” – Dr. Thomas Dorman, internist and member of the Royal College of Physicians of the UK, Fellow, Royal College of Physicians of Canada

Based on the fact that anxiety disorder is just a name for a category that describes people who behave in overly anxious ways, it’s a mistake to believe anxiety disorder is something more than it is. Anxiety disorder is NOT something chemical, medical, biological, or genetic we contract or inherit. Anxiety disorder is simply a name for a category used to classify people who behave more anxiously than what is considered ‘normal.’

If you’ve been diagnosed with anxiety disorder, that just means someone thinks you behave more anxiously than what is considered normal. It doesn’t mean you have something chemically, medically, biologically, or genetically wrong with your brain or mind.

Since worry is a behavior we can change, being diagnosed with anxiety disorder is no more serious than saying we have a habit of driving too fast. If we don’t want to drive faster than what is considered normal, we can learn to slow down. Similarly, if we don’t want to behave as apprehensively, we can learn to behave less anxiously.

This is not to say that behaving overly apprehensively can’t make the body feel very sick. Because it can. Behaving overly apprehensively can cause a wide range of anxiety symptoms. But that the sick feeling isn’t being caused by a serious illness, but how stress affects the body when we behave overly apprehensively. In other words, the sick feeling is caused by too much stress and not because of a mental illness. You can read more about this in the “ anxiety 101” section. How can this myth hamper recovery?

Believing that anxiety disorder is a serious mental illness we have contracted or inherited, and something we have to live with and only ‘manage,’ places us in a victim position, when we should really be in a position of authority, power, and control.

Anxiety occurs when we worry that something bad or harmful may happen. If you believe you can never overcome anxiety disorder and that you can only manage symptoms, the implications of that realization could make you feel more anxious, hopeless, helpless, and trapped, which can negatively affect the quality of your life experience. And when people lose hope and feel they can never live a normal life again, this mindset can produce the very anxiety and depression they dread.

But if you believe anxiety is a behavior you can work at changing, that realization alone can bring hope, which can alleviate a great deal of unnecessary anxiety and feelings of being depressed. And as you learn and adopt healthy ways of coping with adversity, uncertainty, and risk, your confidence will grow and you can return to a normal lifestyle free of problematic anxiety issues.

Anxiety isn’t about something that’s ‘gone wrong’ and that you can’t correct. Anxiety is about behavior that all of us can change and control when we know how. Working with an experienced anxiety therapist, coach, or counsellor can teach you those important skills.

All of us at anxietycentre.com have experienced problematic anxiety and know how out of control it can seem. But we also know that there are many ways we can gain control over it. Getting the right information, help, and support, as well as making the appropriate behavioral changes, is all that is required to successfully treat anxiety unwellness.