During the recovery process we will become much more aware of our intuition and if we listen to its gentle voice it will teach us and show us who we can become.
Self Help - The Struggle to RecoverDo you think you can't recover ? Find out why you are still struggling by Bronwyn Fox
We receive many thousands of emails via our web site, and what is very apparent from most of these is that people have never received a treatment plan that has a disciplined, systematic approach to recovery. What treatment they have received, has been mainly focused on medication with a few behavioural strategies sometimes mixed in to ease the immediacy of a panic attack.
In the long term, these are only band aid measures. They don't teach us to lose our fears, including the fear of our symptoms , nor do they teach us how to manage the thoughts that create so much of our distress. And importantly they do not teach us how to gain confidence in our selves and our ability to recover.
Amongst the emails we received recently was from someone who felt they were a failure. They had tried so many different therapies which had made little difference in the long term to their anxiety disorder. Looking through the list it was obvious as to why they had not recovered, and it had nothing to do with the person 'failing' in some way. It was to do with the various therapies themselves because they did not teach the person a systematic effective way to recover .
Non of the therapies were proactive, in so far as they did not teach the person any skills in how to overcome their disorder in the long term. Rather many of the treatments were more reactive, and as a result 'held' the person in a passive role in regards to their panic attacks and anxiety. Despite the growing understanding of anxiety disorders by medical and mental health professionals, so many of the treatment services offered are not proactive, and as such people do struggle in trying to recover. This often reinforces the belief by both professionals, and people with a disorder, that full recovery is not possible. This is NOT the case, nor has it been for the last ten years or so.
This belief is grounded in the lack of understanding, diagnosis and the lack of effective treatment services in the past. We all need to remember that anxiety disorders were only recognised in 1980 by the American Psychiatric Association. Before 1980 and even right through until the mid 1990s, many people with an anxiety disorder were not diagnosed, let alone received long term effective treatment. And because they were not diagnosed they did not recover. Even when people were diagnosed, many people had not been taught how to recover, and so the erroneous belief that people do not recover, remains.
Before we look at how to begin the recovery process, it would be of benefit to look at the most common therapies and techniques that many people have used in an effort to recover. In doing so, we will look at the reasons why they these therapies and techniques don't offer many people long term recovery. We base this on our experience in working with people who have an anxiety disorder over the last fifteen years.Medication
There is no doubt that there can be a time and place for medication for some people. We used medication during our own experience of an anxiety disorder. We know how necessary it can be to assist people when they are going through a crisis stage of their disorder. But medication is not a long term answer for recovery. Many people find their disorder can return once they have withdrawn from their medication.
Medication by itself does not teach people the necessary skills they need to manage their anxiety and panic in the long term. It is more a passive response, in so far as people are not able to actively participate in their own recovery. Medication is a 'best practice' in the treatment of anxiety disorders, so too is cognitive behavioural therapy. If people use medication while learning and developing their cognitive skills, they then they will have the necessary skills to enable them manage any panic or anxiety once they withdraw from their medication