Why Having An Anxiety Disorder Does Not Mean You’re Crazy

One of the most common symptoms of anxiety disorder is the belief that you’re going crazy.

You have the sense that you are losing your grip on reality and that you are literally on the verge of a mental breakdown. Anxiety disorder can cause a deep seated fear that sooner or later you’re simply going to go mad.

However, despite this overwhelming fear of possible insanity, the fact that you fear it, and are aware of insanity as a state of being, is precisely why you’re  not crazy.

Crazy means a lot things to a lot of people, however, for the sake of clarity let’s say that for our purposes crazy means a mixture of insanity and psychosis . Let’s look at insanity first and how it is normally defined. In the United States, insanity is no longer a medical term and, in fact, is mainly used in legal definitions.

You have heard people say that someone is “legally insane” generally meaning that they cannot comprehend the meaning of “right” and “wrong”. They simply don’t understand what it means to do something horrible, like killing another human being, for example.

Under this definition of crazy or insane would you qualify as such a person? If you have an anxiety disorder the answer is no. You have your mental faculties in order, and you know exactly what right and wrong mean. You know the social norms of society and you follow them.

In other words, you don’t walk around with your underwear on your head because you know that society views this as unacceptable behavior. The second and highest level of so called crazy is a mental state of delusion and abstraction known as psychosis.

Psychosis is associated with conditions like bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. These conditions fall under the psychotic types of mental illness. These conditions are debilitating brain disorders that can seriously hinder ones life.

When someone is psychotic they may hear voices or have hallucinations. In addition they might have a serious paranoia and a feeling that everyone is out to get them.

When someone is deemed psychotic they exhibit disorganized thinking and strange behaviors of various kind. Their very perception of reality is not what you would call “normal.”

It is seriously distorted and disconnected from normal definitions of reality. Moreover one of the most critical aspects of psychosis that does not affect anxiety sufferers is a lack of insight.

Having a lack of insight is just another way of saying that you don’t know that you are behaving or acting strangely. As an anxiety sufferer you spend a lot of time thinking you’re crazy or on the verge of crazy but if this were true than you wouldn’t know it. You simply would not be aware of the fact that your thoughts and behavior were strange or “crazy.”

When you have anxiety you are certainly filled with dread and worry. You experience psychosomatic sensations that make you feel terrible and make you think that you might die soon. It’s pretty scary sometimes.

But the bottom line is that your level of mental fitness is not the same as someone that is psychotic or crazy – it’s much better.

You have the ability to make sound decisions, you don’t hear or see things that aren’t there, and you know the difference between real and unreal. Even if you experience feelings of unreality, or dream like states, you are still aware of them as such.

Unfortunately if you were to ask someone tagged as crazy if they were actually crazy, they would probably say something like “crazy, who me?” They just wouldn’t know that they were in mental distress the same way that you would be able to know.

As you can see you just don’t fit the profile of an insane or psychotic person. So the conclusion must be that you are not crazy. When you have anxiety disorder will you have tricks of vision? Yes. Will you have strange sensations and worry all the time?

Yes. But despite this your condition is a completely different tier of mental ailment. You have an anxiety disorder and you will not graduate to a greater and more terrible mental state.

You’re an excessive worrier racked with tremendous amounts of stress, but you are not crazy by any stretch of the imagination.


  1. Micheal says

    My doctor said it best when I said I’d probably end up in a mental institution:
    “The only people who end up there are the ones that don’t really think they should be there.” In other words, those who think they are crazy/going crazy are the ones who truly are not.

  2. Nataliexxxxx says

    When I was 21 years old (now 26) I went through what the doctor called an acute nervous breakdown which ended in adrenal fatigue . I lost 12 kilos off my already small frame I looked pale and sick all the time I couldn’t eat , sleep or even be in a room on my own . I had severe panic attacks and was in a form of acute anxiety 24/7 . I had to give up work as I couldn’t even leave my house . In the end after numerous attempts at natural medicines I went to my doctor and told him I felt like I had lost my mind and was worried I would end up going crazy. His words to me were ” if you worry you’re going to go crazy ” then it means you never will be crazy and its true. I was given SSRIS which within 2 days I started to feel minor changes in my mental state and since then have gotten 100% back to normal . I have developed a form of GAD as a result of this breakdown and will be on SSRIS for the rest of my life but am able to function totally and completely normal and sane in everyday life since . It took me a total of 2 years to fully recover from my breakdown and knowing how bad I was to what I am now it is a fact that anyone can and will make a full recovery.

  3. Court says

    Thank you so much for writing this. As a constant worrier myself, I always feel and am aware when my anxiety strikes. After researching a ton of articles about anxiety, and the fear of going crazy… This one’s the best! I actually understand how when a person is anxious, the littlest thing like being overly tired can make them think their going crazy, only because of the fact that their so aware. I always feel like I’m “losing grip”, but it never happens. I also feel that what we eat has an impact on our minds. Another good point is whenever I eat sugar-based products, my anxiety will strike. Not sure if it’s some-kind of intolerance to sugar, but I feel like white sugar is awful for me, and makes my anxiety worse. Stay away from sugar for even a day; you may notice a huge difference.

  4. Shaba Ranks says

    Thank you so much for writing this! I feel normal besides being overly worried and fearing I am crazy or that i seem crazy. I needed this, you released so much anxiety!

  5. oilfield stress says

    So caring about your job means you have anxiety? I think that in this world we are to soft as a human race…..we weren’t meant to be taking pills and having surgeries…..we were meant to live and die like animals…..strongest live the rest fall be the way side….i was just told tonight that I have an anxiety problem….the first thing the dr wanted to do was give me a pill….adavan or xanax…
    Either or im not taking either….do you see the side effects of these things!!!! I’d rather ppl think I’m crazy then take those pills. I’m not sure if I’m heading down the right path with this but I sure know they ain’t filling the me with pills…..not this guy!

  6. says

    Hey oilfield stress, I admire your toughness, but I just hope it doesn’t land you in a world of unnecessary suffering. If you decide to not take medications that’s just fine, just hope you do address your anxiety in some other healthy way.

  7. Siyavuya says

    I feel this way everday, I feel like I’m losing my mindi or I’m diisconnected in my body. I sometimes get scared for no reason an my heart races faster to a certain point that I panic that I’m going crazy or something bad is gonna happen to me. Even when I look in the mirror I’m so scared that I’m not my normal self anymore. I worry so much and as a result I’ve lost interest in spending time with friends cause I’m scared that they actually notice that something is wrong with me. It’s terrifying and I don’t know how to tell my parents. I think I’m going to break anyday. Please help


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