“All of us at anxietycentre.com have experienced debilitating anxiety. But we’ve also overcome it and returned to normal and lasting health. Because we know the hardship anxiety unwellness can cause, we are committed to helping others, with over 30 years of service.” - Jim Folk, President, anxietycentre.com

You Can Completely Overcome Anxiety Disorder With Self-help Materials Alone

Marilyn Folk BScN medical reviewer
Written by: Jim Folk.
Medically reviewed by: Marilyn Folk, BScN.
Last updated: April 3, 2019

can overcome anxiety disorder with self-help materials alone

Anxiety Disorder Myth #8: Another common myth is that you can completely overcome anxiety disorder using a self-help approach alone.

Many programs and methods suggest that anxiety self-help materials alone can lead to meaningful and lasting success over problematic anxiety. This can be true, but only for those who experience mild forms of anxiety. For those who experience moderate severity anxiety and above, it’s more difficult, and we believe, unrealistic to expect to gain lasting success without professional help. Here’s why:

Anxiety is caused by behavior – the ways we think and act. See the Anxiety 101 section for more information about the cause of anxiety. Unless a person makes significant behavioral change, anxiety will reoccur. Those who experience mild forms of anxiety generally don’t have many anxiety producing behaviors. And those they have typically aren’t too unhealthy. This is why they experience mild anxiety. Good self-help information can assist a person in making sufficient change when their anxiety is consistently in the mild range.

Moderate severity degrees of anxiety unwellness and above, however, occur for more complex reasons. This generally means people who experience moderate and above degrees of anxiety have many more anxiety producing behaviors and these behaviors are more complex and deep-seated. Making healthy change at this level almost always requires the help of an experienced anxiety disorder professional, and for many reasons. For example:

There are many more reasons why professional help is required for meaningful and lasting success.

Unless you are professionally trained in resolving difficult anxiety issues, it’s unrealistic to think you can self-help yourself to lasting success. Ongoing professional support is an important ingredient to lasting success over problematic anxiety.

How can believing you can completely overcome anxiety disorder using self-help materials alone hamper recovery?

In a survey we did some years ago:

Since self-help materials alone almost never produce lasting success, believing you can overcome problematic anxiety using self-help materials alone can not only hamper your recovery but completely stall and even derail it. There are many reasons for this. Some of the most common include:

Not knowing what your specific anxiety issues are or how to address them could cause a struggle with problematic anxiety to persist, and even for years. Some people struggle with problematic anxiety their entire lives because they didn’t seek professional help. Unfortunately, we see this scenario regularly.

A couple of sayings ring true with regard to anxiety disorder recovery:

Not truly understanding anxiety or truly knowing how to bring about healthy behavioral change is one of the most common reasons why people struggle with problematic anxiety long-term.

If you’ve been trying to self-help yourself out of a struggle with problematic anxiety, yet you find yourself still struggling with it, most likely one, or all of the above reasons apply.

How can this myth make things worse?

If you believe self-help materials alone is sufficient to overcome anxiety unwellness, yet you’ve tried them and continue to struggle with problematic anxiety, you may become discouraged and give up. Or worse, you might conclude that you are the exception and can’t recover. Both mindsets can lead to further needless struggle with problematic anxiety.

Research has shown that the most effective way to overcome problematic anxiety is with the combination of good self-help information, professional assistance, and ongoing support. Our personal and professional experiences with anxiety concur.

While self-help materials can be a ‘part’ of the overall recovery plan, self-help materials are seldom the ‘only’ solution. Working with an experienced anxiety disorder therapist, counselor, or coach is the best way – and often the ONLY way - to gain meaningful and lasting anxiety disorder recovery success, especially if you experience moderate and above degrees of severity.

Anxiety isn’t about something that’s ‘gone wrong’ and that you can’t correct. Anxiety is about behavior that all of us can change and control when we know how. Working with an experienced anxiety therapist, coach, or counsellor can teach you those important skills.

All of us at anxietycentre.com have experienced problematic anxiety and know how out of control it can seem. But we also know that there are many ways we can gain control over it. Getting the right information, help, and support, as well as making the appropriate behavioral changes, is all that is required to successfully treat anxiety unwellness.

There are many reasons to be optimistic. Anyone can learn and adopt less anxious ways of approaching life. Consequently, no one needs to suffer with anxiety unwellness. Life can be great again…and without the burden of problematic anxiety!

The combination of good self-help information and working with an experienced anxiety disorder 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.

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