ADAA Member Experts Debunk Common Anxiety Myths #MythBusters

ADAA Member Experts Debunk Common Anxiety Myths #MythBusters

L. Kevin Chapman, PhD

Kevin Chapman

Member Since 2008

Dr. Kevin Chapman is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist in private practice, where he engages in the assessment and treatment of anxiety and related disorders and the culturally-infused implementation of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). In addition to being a Media Psychologist, Dr. Chapman is the past Program Chair for the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT), former Master Clinician Seminar Chair for ABCT and is the former Chair of the Facilitated Consultation Committee for the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA). Dr. Chapman was an Associate Professor in Psychology from the University of Louisville prior to establishing a full-time private practice in 2014.

Dr. Chapman and ADAA

"I joined ADAA in 2008 and became involved in 2010 when I discovered that ADAA is a natural outlet for my research. I soon realized after joining ADAA that a number of my colleagues not only attend ADAA's annual conference but are also actively involved in the organization's governance. I enjoy my ADAA membership for several, interrelated reasons. ADAA has increasingly valued diversity and makes issues pertaining to diversity salient throughout all facets of its educational programming. Additionally, I thoroughly enjoy my time at ADAA conferences where I can not only spend time catching up with colleagues, but also attend an exceptionally diverse program pertaining to anxiety and related concerns. Presenting at ADAA is always extremely enjoyable and the increased emphasis on technology and social media is absolutely refreshing! Additionally, ADAA is truly innovative in leveraging the intersection between consumers and mental health providers. By engaging constituents through monthly Twitter Chats (one of my favorite components), webinars, and blog posts, ADAA truly facilitates dissemination and public education." 

ADAA Member Experts Debunk Common Anxiety Myths #MythBusters

Share
No

In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, Drs. Debra Kissen and Kevin Chapman hosted a Twitter chat under the title #MythBusters where they debunked common myths surrounding anxiety and provided the actual corresponding facts.

M1: Taking some deep breaths or breathing into a brown paper bag will help you when you feel anxious.

Dr. Chapman: Breathing skills as they relate to anxiety can be used as ‘portable’ tools to remain in uncomfortable situations. “Riding the wave” and recognizing that anxiety runs a natural course is key rather than distraction. Anxiety is rarely a problem unless chronic.

Dr. Kissen: Although accessing slow, gentle breathes can be a powerful tool in moving past anxiety, there are few things more annoying to telling someone who is anxious, stressed or panicking to "just take a deep breath." Breathing skills can be super helpful for down regulating and calming self down but like all tools in the tool box, when over used or in properly used can cause more harm than help...especially when enhancing one's tendency to hyperventilate. 

M2: If your child is suffering from anxiety, you should force him/her to do the things he/she is afraid of. 

Dr. Chapman: Forcing a child with anxiety to do the things he/she is afraid of is “flooding” with distress and usually backfires and perpetuates the anxiety. Being sensitive, inquisitive, modeling safety, and gradually confronting fears while reinforcing the success is huge.

Dr. Kissen: If your child is struggling with anxiety DO compassionately assist them in gradually facing their fears DON'T force them to do things they are afraid of. The difference between the 2 sounds subtle but makes all the difference in the world.

M3: You should always avoid stressful situations or distract yourself when facing your fears.

Dr. Chapman: Emotions run a natural course. Distraction often provides temporary relief but paradoxically backfires and perpetuates distress. Learning new, non-threatening associations is best achieved by ultimately confronting fears consistently.

Dr. Kissen: Stress and anxiety are NOT dangerous. What IS hazardous to life satisfaction is handing over your life to anxiety and making your world smaller and smaller in an attempt to avoid feeling stressed or anxious. You can handle these uncomfortable feelings! It is worth it to feel the occasional (or at times frequent) anxious feeling in order to live your life to the fullest. You are stronger than you know and can handle the discomfort.

M4: You must have experienced a traumatic event to have a phobia.

Dr. Chapman: A soapbox issue for me indeed. Though an element for many phobias certainly doesn’t explain it all. A combo of genetics & learning experiences, including modeling and informational transmission in the context of an object/situation is often true. Often the traumatic event isn’t related to the phobia per se. Experiencing panic symptoms in the context of the feared object or situation is technically traumatic in nature & creates a “learned alarm”

Dr. Kissen: Occasionally the origin of a phobia is a traumatic event but more often it is unclear why your brain is hyper sensitive to certain stimuli. The good news is that you don't need to know why you are afraid of something to move past that fear. 

M5: Social anxiety is the same as being shy.

Dr. Chapman: Social anxiety and ‘being shy’ aren’t the same. Shyness or behavioral inhibition can serve as a risk factor for social anxiety. Additionally, social anxiety is a normal part of life and is only problematic when it creates distress and impairment in functioning.

Dr. Kissen: There is nothing unhealthy or problematic about being shy.  In contrast, by definition, social anxiety disorder (or social phobia) entails one experiencing noteworthy emotional distress and impaired functioning due to their fear of being judged negatively. 

M6: Your anxiety and depression will improve if you’re patient and focus on positive things. 

Dr. Chapman: Telling those who struggle with anxiety and depression to “just think positively” is extremely toxic and harmful. CBT, exercise, mindfulness, having social support, interpersonal therapy, medication and a plethora of other suggestions ARE helpful strategies.

Dr. Kissen: Telling a friend or loved one to "focus on positive things" can be extremely hurtful. When someone's brain is stuck on the anxiety or depression channel, they are not choosing to focus on what is wrong or dangerous but their brain is. There are ways to train your brain to attend to the positive aspects of life but this takes hard work, support and frequent repetition. It does not just happen by willing oneself to be more positive.

L. Kevin Chapman, PhD

Kevin Chapman

Member Since 2008

Dr. Kevin Chapman is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist in private practice, where he engages in the assessment and treatment of anxiety and related disorders and the culturally-infused implementation of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). In addition to being a Media Psychologist, Dr. Chapman is the past Program Chair for the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT), former Master Clinician Seminar Chair for ABCT and is the former Chair of the Facilitated Consultation Committee for the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA). Dr. Chapman was an Associate Professor in Psychology from the University of Louisville prior to establishing a full-time private practice in 2014.

Dr. Chapman and ADAA

"I joined ADAA in 2008 and became involved in 2010 when I discovered that ADAA is a natural outlet for my research. I soon realized after joining ADAA that a number of my colleagues not only attend ADAA's annual conference but are also actively involved in the organization's governance. I enjoy my ADAA membership for several, interrelated reasons. ADAA has increasingly valued diversity and makes issues pertaining to diversity salient throughout all facets of its educational programming. Additionally, I thoroughly enjoy my time at ADAA conferences where I can not only spend time catching up with colleagues, but also attend an exceptionally diverse program pertaining to anxiety and related concerns. Presenting at ADAA is always extremely enjoyable and the increased emphasis on technology and social media is absolutely refreshing! Additionally, ADAA is truly innovative in leveraging the intersection between consumers and mental health providers. By engaging constituents through monthly Twitter Chats (one of my favorite components), webinars, and blog posts, ADAA truly facilitates dissemination and public education." 

Use of Website Blog Commenting

Use of Website Blog Commenting

ADAA provides this Website blogs for the benefit of its members and the public. The content, view and opinions published in Blogs written by our personnel or contributors – or from links or posts on the Website from other sources - belong solely to their respective authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of ADAA, its members, management or employees. Any comments or opinions expressed are those of their respective contributors only. Please remember that the open and real-time nature of the comments posted to these venues makes it is impossible for ADAA to confirm the validity of any content posted, and though we reserve the right to review and edit or delete any such comment, we do not guarantee that we will monitor or review it. As such, we are not responsible for any messages posted or the consequences of following any advice offered within such posts. If you find any posts in these posts/comments to be offensive, inaccurate or objectionable, please contact us via email at [email protected] and reference the relevant content. If we determine that removal of a post or posts is necessary, we will make reasonable efforts to do so in a timely manner.

ADAA expressly disclaims responsibility for and liabilities resulting from, any information or communications from and between users of ADAA’s blog post commenting features. Users acknowledge and agree that they may be individually liable for anything they communicate using ADAA’s blogs, including but not limited to defamatory, discriminatory, false or unauthorized information. Users are cautioned that they are responsible for complying with the requirements of applicable copyright and trademark laws and regulations. By submitting a response, comment or content, you agree that such submission is non-confidential for all purposes. Any submission to this Website will be deemed and remain the property of ADAA.

The ADAA blogs are forums for individuals to share their opinions, experiences and thoughts related to mental illness. ADAA wants to ensure the integrity of this service and therefore, use of this service is limited to participants who agree to adhere to the following guidelines:

1. Refrain from transmitting any message, information, data, or text that is unlawful, threatening, abusive, harassing, defamatory, vulgar, obscene, that may be invasive of another 's privacy, hateful, or bashing communications - especially those aimed at gender, race, color, sexual orientation, national origin, religious views or disability.

Please note that there is a review process whereby all comments posted to blog posts and webinars are reviewed by ADAA staff to determine appropriateness before comments are posted. ADAA reserves the right to remove or edit a post containing offensive material as defined by ADAA.

ADAA reserves the right to remove or edit posts that contain explicit, obscene, offensive, or vulgar language. Similarly, posts that contain any graphic files will be removed immediately upon notice.

2. Refrain from posting or transmitting any unsolicited, promotional materials, "junk mail," "spam," "chain mail," "pyramid schemes" or any other form of solicitation. ADAA reserves the right to delete these posts immediately upon notice.

3. ADAA invites and encourages a healthy exchange of opinions. If you disagree with a participant 's post or opinion and wish to challenge it, do so with respect. The real objective of the ADAA blog post commenting function is to promote discussion and understanding, not to convince others that your opinion is "right." Name calling, insults, and personal attacks are not appropriate and will not be tolerated. ADAA will remove these posts immediately upon notice.

4. ADAA promotes privacy and encourages participants to keep personal information such as address and telephone number from being posted. Similarly, do not ask for personal information from other participants. Any comments that ask for telephone, address, e-mail, surveys and research studies will not be approved for posting.

5. Participants should be aware that the opinions, beliefs and statements on blog posts do not necessarily represent the opinions and beliefs of ADAA. Participants also agree that ADAA is not to be held liable for any loss or injury caused, in whole or in part, by sponsorship of blog post commenting. Participants also agree that ADAA reserves the right to report any suspicions of harm to self or others as evidenced by participant posts.

RESOURCES AND NEWS
Evidence-based Tips & Strategies from our Member Experts
RELATED ARTICLES
Block reference
Other New Content
Block reference
Blog
As the U.S. vaccination rate increases and COVID-19 rates decrease, the question on everyone’s mind…
Webinar

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I) is evidence-based and is recommended as the…

Article
ADAA is very fortunate to receive many stories and to be the beneficiary of many school projects…
PERSONAL STORY
It is my sincere hope that this new collection of songs brings as much comfort and healing to…

Advertisement