Today Billy and I talk about the different types of therapy and professional help available for anxiety disorders both from a US and a UK perspective.
Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) is hands down the most effective current long-term treatment for panic disorder and related anxiety disorders. If you’re seeking professional help, look for a therapist that specifically specialized in CBT and anxiety disorders. Therapy focused on simply talking about your life might be helpful to a degree, but that is a very long term process and really does very little to address the immediate needs of a panic sufferer. Use CBT and related techniques to get past your panic attacks first.
Finding the causes of your panic attacks is a good thing, but not by itself. Its not what solves the problem of an anxiety disorder.
Stress, negative thinking, reactions to past traumas and emotional issues are just some of many possible panic and anxiety triggers. We’re all different, our life circumstances are all different, and that means that there is no one “cause” for panic attacks. Learning to identify your triggers and deal with them is an important part of recovery, but ONLY if you’re also facing the panic and learning not to be afraid of it. Again, there’s no way around that. Learn not to fear panic and in the long run it won’t matter what happens in your life – you’ll never spend your time worrying about having panic attacks again.
There is no “comfortable” way to recover from panic disorder.
Don’t waste your time or money on books, CDs, DVDs or websites that claim to have a “cure” for panic attacks unless you’re willing to face your fear head on as part of the process. Nobody can get you around that. Nobody. Sorry, but that’s just the way it is. The very heart of recovery lies in learning not to be afraid of panic. The only way to do that is to fully experience panic without fleeing, avoiding, or adding more fear to the situation. This means that you will experience times of extreme fear and discomfort. That’s just the way it has to be. The good news is that if you’re willing to do that a few times, it will begin to get easier very quickly. It doesn’t take long for your courage to pay off as you suddenly find that you are no longer deathly afraid of having a panic attack. Reach that point and you’re most of the way home!
You have to be afraid, before you can not be afraid.
Learning to not fear how you feel is a huge part of truly overcoming your anxiety and panic issues.
Its important to not react physically to the symptoms of anxiety and panic. Reacting in fear only leads to the belief that something you did somehow made you “safer”, when in reality there is no danger at hand. Lets talk about how to just let your anxiety symptoms be without engaging with them or focusing on them. We talk about using coping techniques and also taking an active approach to even welcoming your symptoms or daring them to take their best shot at you.