11 Mental Health Disorders That Are 100% Misunderstood

3. Anxiety

Depressed woman pressing her hand against her forehead Anxiety can be completely overwhelming. | iStock.com/grinvalds

Similar to depression, social stigmas lead people to believe anxiety can go away on its own. Some even think it can be cured by adopting simple lifestyle changes, like exercising or eating a healthier diet. But most of the time, chronic anxiety requires treatment from a qualified mental health professional. “Effective treatment for anxiety disorders can help a person manage their thoughts, emotions, and behavior to improve their daily life,” Mogali explained.

A specific type of anxiety that’s been given a heavy stigma is social anxiety, or the compulsive concern that someone will blow it in social situations. Feelings of never meeting a significant other, never having friends, or never advancing professionally are all common. “People may think social anxiety has to do with lacking social skills and not knowing how to act in certain situations, but it’s actually the opposite,” Helen Odessky, psychologist and author of Stop Anxiety From Stopping Youexplained in an interview with The Cheat Sheet. “People with social anxiety have good social skills, they just worry they’ll make a social mistake, act imperfectly, and fail to live up to those social rules.”