The Internet abounds in information and misinformation about panic attacks, phobias, and other anxiety disorders — including promises of quick cures that require up-front payment. When chronic anxiety disrupts your life, you may be willing to try anything. But how can you learn what’s trustworthy? And how can you find help that will work for you? Read on.
First, take a look at the reality behind some common anxiety myths (you can also download this infographic here). You may have heard these:
Finding Information Online
The Internet offers lots of information about anxiety, so how can you tell if it’s reliable or credible? Look for evidence-based practices, which are treatments that clinical research has shown to be effective.
Here are the top five ways:
1. Review ADAA Resources: Visit the websites of these recommended organizations, learn about treatment options, and contact ADAA for more information.
Sign up to receive Triumph, the ADAA monthly e-newsletter and other occasional e-mails.
Listen to this ADAA webinar - Common Myths About Anxiety Disorders (April 17, 2013)
Sally Winston, PsyD, discusses some commonly held beliefs about anxiety disorders that are mostly or partially false, including why reducing stress, thinking positive thoughts, gaining insight about its origins, and lots of reassurance often do not really help much in reducing significant symptoms of anxiety.
2. Look for credentials. Look for academic degrees, professional and state licenses, association memberships, and other evidence of experience for the authors of any website. A “leading expert” or fellow panic sufferer might not offer the treatment that’s best for you.
- Also, visit the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) website to find the types of treatment that are recommended. Many university health centers offer treatment, too.
3. Beware of extravagant claims — instant cures, guaranteed results of never again having anxiety symptoms, revolutionary formulas, “natural” or unique methods or techniques that require payment — and products “exclusively available from this website.” Just because it says “scientifically proven” doesn’t mean it’s true.
4. When you participate in a forum, message board, or chat room, be aware that while it’s easy to get information from other people that appears helpful, it may work against your recovery. Peers may offer valuable insight, but be sure to check any advice with a mental health professional.
5. Learn more about Internet anxiety scams by psychologist David Carbonell, PhD, an expert on anxiety disorders and a member of ADAA. Become an informed consumer to find the most effective treatment for you.