Is it possible for a person to never recover from anxiety disorder?
It's my (Jim Folk) opinion that everyone can overcome anxiety disorder when they do the right work.
But does everyone do so? No!
It’s not that they can’t recover, but that they don’t do the required work to attain lasting success.
There are many reasons for this, for example:
- It’s difficult to successfully identify and address the root causes of anxiety disorder without the proper help. This is why we recommend working with a knowledgeable and experienced therapist, and one that is familiar with the underlying factors of anxiety disorder. (If a person knew what to do, he wouldn’t have anxiety disorder.)
- In denial – some people don’t believe they have any issues to address. So they don’t. Yet those unaddressed issues continue to cause problems.
- Some people don’t see the value in working at the underlying factors of their condition. So they don’t, and therefore, their underlying factors remain and continue to cause problems.
- Some people believe they can’t afford the right help or for long enough, so they choose not to pursue therapy.
- Some people stop their work before it is completed. It’s common for people to stop therapy when their symptoms disappear. But symptom cessation doesn’t mean the underlying factors have been addressed or sufficiently, so they can continue to cause ‘invisible’ problems with anxiety.
- Some people don’t believe what we’re saying is true. Everyone has an opinion, and some people believe we’re just out to make money so they don’t believe our comments or approach.
- Some people are afraid of dealing with their underlying factors, so they don't.
- Some people believe they can’t address their underlying factors so they don’t try or give up quickly.
- Some people succumb to the negative stigma attached to therapy. So they don’t pursue it.
- There is a mismatch between the therapist and client personalities. This mismatch prevents trust and undermines continuing through to success.
- The therapist they chose to work with is inexperienced or isn’t sufficiently capable to address anxiety issues.
- Some people would rather not spend the money or time required to overcome anxiety disorder.
- Some people aren't convinced anxiety disorder is something a person can overcome. So they don't try.
- Some people would rather blame their anxiety for not achieving their potential. As long as anxiety is an issue, they don’t have to be responsible if they fail.
- Some people’s loved ones downplay or negate the importance of therapy, which deters them from seeking meaningful help.
- Some people’s loved ones don’t want to see their spouses/mates change so they discourage them from seeking meaningful help.
To name a few.
So while anxiety disorder recovery is available to anyone, some people choose not to pursue it or for long enough for various reasons. But again, yes, everyone can overcome their struggle with anxiety disorder by doing the right work and for long enough. Staying the course leads to success.
ALL of our anxiety therapists, including me (Jim Folk), have regained their normal anxiety disorder-free lives by doing the right work. We are proof recovery is attainable.
People who continue to struggle with anxiety disorder do so because they haven’t done the right work. It’s as simple as that!
A normal life free of problematic anxiety should be your expectation, too, when you do the right work. And it’s definitely achievable with the right help and support. Again, successful treatment for your anxiety disorder should be your expectation.
* There can be other causes of problematic anxiety, such as a medical problem or circumstance, side effects from medication, other psychological problems (such as ADD, Dissociative disorder, and more serious mental health problems like schizophrenia, to name a few), other emotional disorders (such as bipolar disorder, unresolved grief, and Asperger's Syndrome, to name a few), and spiritual problems (some beliefs and faiths aren’t conducive to overcoming fears that involve spiritual matters).
This is not to say that many of the above can’t be addressed, because they can, and often very similar to anxiety disorder by identifying and addressing the underlying factors of the condition. But to attain anxiety disorder success, you may need to address the other condition first before problems with anxiety can be overcome.
Moreover, if your anxiety is coming from living with a mate/spouse who is struggling with one (or many) of the above medical, psychological, emotional, or spiritual problems, you may need specific help as well. For example, someone living with a mate/spouse who has ADD most often needs to work with a therapist who specializes in ADD. Because ADD is a very specific condition, dealing with the consequences of ADD requires the help of a specialist and not just any therapist.
Nonetheless, getting the right help can help you overcome your struggle with anxiety disorder. For more information, you may want to talk with one of our therapists to see if you require specialized assistance.
The combination of good self-help information and working with an experienced anxiety disorder coach, counselor, or therapist is the most effective way to address anxiety disorder and its many symptoms. Until the core causes of anxiety are addressed - the underlying factors that motivate apprehensive behavior - a struggle with anxiety disorder can return again and again. Identifying and successfully addressing anxiety's underlying factors is the best way to overcome problematic anxiety.
For more information about our Anxiety Counseling option; our Available Anxiety Therapists; to Book An Appointment with one of our anxiety therapists; common Anxiety Signs and Symptoms; common Anxiety Attack Symptoms; the symptoms of panic attack disorder; anxiety Recovery Support area; information about Anxiety; and our Anxiety 101 section; or click on the appropriate link or graphic below:
”CBT can be recommended as a gold standard in the psychotherapeutic treatment of patients with anxiety disorders." - Otte, Christian. "Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in Anxiety Disorders: Current State of the Evidence." Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience. Les Laboratoires Servier, Dec. 2011. Web. 14 Sept. 2016.
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 2016.