When people suffer from anxiety disorders they start to believe their condition stems from a hormone imbalance, or from a genetic defect, or some other irreversible condition. There is absolutely no scientific proof that this is the case.
Over the years I have spoken with professionals and have tried to understand where anxiety disorders originate myself. Some professionals lean toward a genetic component, and other professionals lean towards a learned behavior component. Even still, some professionals believe in a combination of the two.
As I worked with various clients and I learned their stories, I started to align my thinking with the combination of a genetic component and a learned behavior. It seems to me that people with anxiety disorders are born with a personality trait that predisposes them to be more sensitive, more compassionate and therefore more likely to be affected by certain life experiences. But it’s the life experiences that are needed in order to allow an anxiety disorder to actually begin.
One estimate I heard over the years is that 80% of children from divorced families develop anxiety disorders.
People have developed anxiety disorders after suffering a traumatic experience in their life. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can have a person develop anxiety disorders, sometimes in a very short period of time.
There are many situations that seem to “create” anxiety disorders. Regardless of the differences in the apparent circumstances that surround someone’s specific suffering, there are commonalities that exist.
What seems to set off the anxiety, to begin with, is a sense of not being able to care for ourselves. When we feel vulnerable, or unprotected, our personal self-defense mechanism (anxiety) tries to protect us. And the insecurity that we feel starts the “cycle of fear” (anxiety disorders). Leaving us feeling helpless & hopeless.
The treatment center where I learned how to recover and where I became a certified counselor claimed to have a 97% percent success rate for their clients over the years. This is for literally thousands of clients since 1971. The approach they use is simply Behavior Modification. Working with clients myself I have witnessed tremendous results.
However, I will say that there is a direct connection between effort and recovery. The more effort a person puts out on a daily basis, the better the results are in creating recovery. Recovery is rooted in empowerment. We need to learn that we are able to care for ourselves and that we are stronger than the feelings of fear that we experience.
What I tell my clients is that regardless of how we got here, this is where we are. In other words, it doesn’t matter how or why we ended up with anxiety disorders, we have them. We can’t change yesterday, what is done is done. All we can do is work today, to change tomorrow. Regardless of how you got your anxiety, regardless of how your specific anxiety has manifested itself – all recovery is the same. Whether its agoraphobia, OCD, generalized, social, panic disorder – they all share the same root.
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