WHAT IS THE TREATMENT FOR SEVERE ANXIETY
Treatment which has been found to be effective involves a process of learning more adaptive coping skills. This involves replacing old habits with more productive ones so that the sufferer comes to deal more successfully with internal anxiety and is able to gradually reenter phobic situations. For some clients, the use of supportive medications until they gain sufficient confidence in the process, may also be helpful. A careful evaluation of this need is important, often as a beginning step.
We believe that the effective program does not focus nearly as much on the place or the thing avoided as it does on helping the person decrease the anxious, internal feelings and fear of the panic itself. The first part of our treatment approach is educational and is designed to help the individual understand what agoraphobia is, what is happening to the body, why it happened, and what one can begin to do to stop frightening oneself. A second major emphasis is on learning relaxation skills so that the person can call on this "tool" as needed to help manage anxious feelings.
An effective program also helps the person recognize and alter negative, fear-enhancing self-dialogue and attitudes. This is a difficult process for many, but a necessary one. The forth part of the treatment is designed to help the participant learn how to change certain behavior which have contributed to increased phobic withdrawal. During that phase of the program, the participant is introduced to skills and concepts that help change non-productive behaviors into effective, productive ones. He/she is taught to get back into the mainstream of life, beginning again to do those things that have been avoided or which were previously accomplished with extreme anxiety.
Over a period of four months, the participant is introduced to knowledge and skills to help deal with panic anxiety in a more constructive way. Some individuals are recovered from agoraphobia at that point; others will find that the work needs to continue up through the first year. People learn at different rates, have different levels of motivation, and are experiencing different amounts of stress at the time entering treatment. These factors make it hard to predict low long or how much work it will take until the anxiety and phobic restrictions are no longer the primary concern of the individual's life.
Nevertheless, severe anxiety syndromes are very treatable and individuals can and do recover. Some people find that once they have successfully mastered new skills, they rarely, if ever, surfer panic anxiety again. Others find that occasionally during particularly stressful periods of life, they have to call on their skills to help move them through a difficult time. Learning to reduce one's anxious reactions and replace these with more productive behavior increases one's motivation and willingness to continue one's growth and personal development.
Our therapeutic process, known as CHAANGE Program is designed to help you change the habits of thought, belief, attitude and behavior which have contributed to anxious feelings. Based on cognitive, behavioral, and goal-oriented therapies, the program addresses these four basic areas
1. Understanding the condition.
2. Learning how to relax your body.
3. Learning new skills of thought and attitude.
4. Learning to change your behavior patterns so that you can comfortably do those things you now avoid.