Two Levels of Anxiety Unwellness Recovery - Part 3
Level One recovery - understanding anxiety, learning that you don’t have to fear anxiety and its sensations and symptoms, and working to help the body recover - is an important first step in overcoming problematic anxiety. While Level One recovery addresses the physiological aspects of anxiety unwellness, it doesn’t address the CAUSE of anxiety unwellness: the underlying factors of problematic anxiety – those behaviors, situations, and circumstances that motivate anxious behaviors.
Until anxiety’s underlying factors are addressed, there is a high likelihood that you will remain vulnerable to episodes of high anxiety and its stress response consequences and complications.
Level Two recovery - identifying and successfully addressing the underlying factors at the root of anxiety unwellness. When you treat the cause of the problem – the underlying factors that cause problematic anxiety - you also treat its sensation, symptoms, and complications too.
If meaningful recovery is desired, you need to accomplish both levels of anxiety disorder recovery. Doing so ensures you’ve addressed the root causes of your anxiety issues. Once done, anxiety unwellness can be overcome along with its sensations, symptoms, and complications.
When I (Jim Folk) look back at my recovery and over the many years that I’ve maintained my normal health, one of the reasons I’ve been so successful is because I’ve addressed my underlying factors. Yes, I experienced some recovery success with Level One recovery only. But that would have taken me only so far. It wouldn’t have provided the lasting success I’ve enjoyed these past 29 years. Accomplishing Level Two recovery is what freed me from problematic anxiety (anxiety disorder).
Now that doesn’t mean I’ve completed my work. Because I had so many underlying factors, I’m sure I’ll be doing this work until the day I die. But I’m fine with that. I don’t mind the on going process of finding ways to improve my character and approach to life.
Nonetheless, the recovery work I did back then is what made it possible to live a normal life ever since. Again, I wouldn’t have been able to sustain my normal health all these years had I not done both levels of recovery work.
I also see this in many of the clients we’ve worked with over the years. Those who stop therapy once they’ve reached Level One recovery often continued to struggle off and on until they addressed Level Two recovery. But once Level Two recovery was addressed, anxiety ceased to be a problem.
That’s not to say that we never experience anxiety again. That’s unrealistic. Everyone behaves anxiously from time to time. The difference, however, is that anxiety doesn’t disrupt our normal lifestyle nor are we afraid of it or its symptoms. Once we’ve achieved Level Two success, we experience life normally and that makes a world of difference.
There are also many other benefits that Level Two recovery can bring. When I say a return to normal health, I mean that our physical health returns to normal, but our emotional and psychological health are greatly improved and enhanced. Not only did I overcome my struggle with problematic anxiety but I also learned to live authentically, more at peace, and with healthier relationships. These benefits in themselves were well worth the effort and time I spent working through Level Two recovery.
The combination of good self-help information and working with an experienced anxiety disorder therapist, coach, or counselor is the most effective way to address anxiety and its many symptoms. Until the core causes of anxiety are addressed - we call these core causes the underlying factors of anxiety - a struggle with anxiety unwellness can return again and again. Dealing with the underlying factors of anxiety is the best way to address problematic anxiety.
For more information about our Anxiety Therapy, Coaching, Counseling option; our Available Anxiety Therapists; to Book An Appointment with one of our anxiety therapists; common Symptoms of Anxiety; Anxiety Attack Symptoms; anxiety Recovery Support area; common Anxiety Myths; and our Anxiety 101 section; or click on the appropriate graphic below:
DISCLAIMER: Because each body is somewhat chemically unique, and because each person will have a unique mix of symptoms and underlying factors, recovery results may vary. Variances can occur for many reasons, including due to the severity of the condition, the ability of the person to apply the recovery concepts, and the commitment to making behavioral change.
Return to our Anxiety Frequent Questions page.
Authors: Jim Folk, Marilyn Folk, BScN. Last updated September 10, 2017.