Self – 5 Surprising Things Most People Get Wrong About Anxiety

Photo: Twitter

Photo: Twitter

Zayn Malik made news last week after he canceled a sold out show due to anxiety that has “haunted” him in the last few months around live performances. So just how common is anxiety, and can performers, even extroverted ones experience it? Korin Miller for SELF magazine asked me to weigh in on what most people get wrong about anxiety, and I was very pleased to help out.

To read the full post on SELF, click HERE.

2. Even extroverts can have it.

Malik has been a performer for years and is regularly in the public eye—but that doesn’t mean an extrovert like him can’t suffer from anxiety. “Just because people like to be social or have careers that demand public performing doesn’t mean they don’t feel anxiety,” licensed clinical psychologist Alicia H. Clark, Psy.D., tells SELF. “Anxiety…can affect anyone.”

Extroversion and introversion have to do with where we get our energy (i.e. from others or from ourselves) and aren’t necessarily tied to our comfort levels socially, Clark explains. Plus, performing solo in front of a massive crowd can stress out even the most outgoing person. “Performance anxiety is one of the most crippling kinds of anxiety and can certainly affect extroverts as well as introverts,” says Clark.

3. It’s a legitimate health issue.

Malik essentially called in sick to his concert, and experts say he has a right to just as much as if he were suffering from strep throat or pneumonia. “Anxiety is no question a health issue just like any other mental health issue,” says Clark. “It is no doubt a full-body physiological issue and, like all health issues, requires a whole-body treatment.”

4. The symptoms aren’t always obvious.

“Coupled with the mental worry, anxiety sufferers are usually exhausted, and often complain of fatigue,” Clark says. Anxiety sufferers also often struggle to sleep well—or enough—which can exacerbate their symptoms, she adds.

5. It is often treatable—so if you have anxiety, know that help is out there.

According to the ADAA, only about one-third of people suffering from an anxiety disorder receive treatment even though they’re highly treatable.

Clark stresses that there’s no shame in getting treatment for anxiety, and it can make a big difference: “Treatment outcomes are very positive for anxiety once people commit to reaching out for help.”

Alicia H. Clark, PsyD

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