In this guest post my aim is to help the reader understand the effectiveness of harmonizing western medicine with self help techniques as a means of effectively addressing generalized anxiety disorder/panic disorder to make as swift a recovery as possible. I will do so by drawing from my own experience as an anxiety sufferer and my long hard road to recovery.
The reason why I feel it important for severe anxiety sufferers to understand the effective fusion of medicine and self-help is because I am aware that often anxiety sufferers will choose either one or the other. I have had a great deal of experience with anxiety sufferers and have observed that often a sufferer will just take an anti-depressant or other anxiety medication without making any lifestyle changes, only to discover that their results are marginal and unsatisfactory.
Conversely, there are those who refuse prescription medication at all costs and seek to address their anxiety only through self-help techniques, again only to discover that their recovery is slow and not as effective as the self-help program which they purchased promised to be. I know all too well that in this internet age it is so easy to be sucked into purchasing a so-called ‘revolutionary’ self-help program that promises swift recovery without medication. While sometimes these programs are indeed effective, they are often sold through aggressive marketing campaigns which make exaggerated claims of success, which should always be taken with a proverbial ‘pinch of salt’.
I will try not to dwell too long on my past but I feel it necessary to briefly recall my own struggle with anxiety before discussing the treatment method that worked for me. In doing so my hope is that some readers will be able to identify with my condition and its severity, which may lead them to consider taking the same treatment path I did and ultimately achieving their own recovery.
So, a little about my anxiety history. My first panic attack occurred some time after Easter in 2010. It must have begun as I was sleeping as I remember waking up feeling numb all over my body. Having never experienced this kind of numbness before, I was naturally horrified and assumed that there was something wrong with my brain. Later that day a GP confirmed that the numbness had been caused by a panic attack. After that day I experienced panic attacks on a daily basis and had a constant tension headache (feeling of having a tight band around the head).
At the peak of my anxiety, I would experience what is commonly referred to as ‘brain zaps’. While, as I would later discover, brain zaps like all other anxiety symptoms were totally harmless, I am unable to adequately describe how horrific it is to experience them. Pure horror!
When this continued for over 2 months I was convinced there was something wrong with my brain and went to visit a neurologist, who confirmed that my symptoms were all being caused by anxiety and that it would be pointless for me to have a brain scan.
It was an immense relief to receive confirmation from a neurologist that my symptoms were all harmless and not a sign of any sinister condition, yet all the same they were numerous and extremely unpleasant to experience. Yet despite my symptoms I was vehemently opposed to taking prescription medication and determined that I would recover through totally natural means. I purchased the popular self-help anxiety program “The Linden Method”, which I had been investigating for some weeks prior. At the time I was still relatively naïve to the way these types of products are marketed and I believed without hesitation that this ebook was the answer to ending my anxiety for good.
Long story short, the Linden Method was definitely helpful and it did help in achieving an abatement of my symptoms, however this took place very gradually/slowly: we’re talking minor improvements each week as opposed to the vast improvements in a few weeks that are promised on the sales page of the program.
Eventually, after conducting extensive research on antidepressants, SSRI’s in particular, I decided after consultation with my doctor, to combine a course of SSRI’s with my Linden Method efforts. It was around this time that I began to improve more swiftly, however I would be remiss to attribute these improvements solely to the SSRI as I believe that it was the combination of the SSRI and the lifestyle changes encouraged by the Linden Method that harmonized my recovery process: streamlined it, if you will.
So, the message that I would like to give to other anxiety and panic attack sufferers out there is that prescription drugs and holistic healing solutions are not mutually exclusive when it comes to finding the most effective treatment plan for your condition. In other words, it does not have to be just the one or the other and in all likelihood it will be a combination of the two that will produce the most effective results.
While drugs are certainly helpful, there are no miracle drugs out there and there is certainly no drug that is going to cure your anxiety condition. Yes, drugs may help to alleviate the symptoms of your condition and in this way bring you some relief, but ultimately you have to address the underlying cause of the condition in order to truly cure it. This necessitates making various lifestyle changes. It must surely make sense that if you continue to practice the same habits and practices which you did when you became anxious, that your condition is not likely to disappear. True recovery requires change and this is what the various e-books and self-help programs like the Linden Method and ‘Panic Away’ encourage sufferers to do. While these programs do differ in certain respects, the underlying principles are the same – that anxiety related conditions are habits created in the subconscious, and these habits can only be removed by changing one’s behavior and practicing new habits. By doing this properly, over time your anxiety will subside and ultimately disappear. I know this from first-hand experience.
So, if you suffer from anxiety or panic attacks, don’t suffer! Go ahead and visit your doctor with a view to gaining some kind of relief from your symptoms but be sure to do your own research and ask questions. Make it clear to your doctor that you don’t want any habit-forming medications – these are really bad news and only end up exacerbating the problem in the long run. Also understand that while your medications will relieve your symptoms, they cannot cure your underlying anxiety condition – this has to come from you, more specifically your lifestyle and habits. This is where self-help programs can be effective, albeit over a long period of time. Just keep at it and don’t expect miracles overnight or even in just a few months. Give it time – most anxiety conditions are temporary, but they do take time to heal.