Anxiety, Panic attacks and phobias are now reaching epidemic proportions worldwide and no one seems to be acknowledging or tackling this issue that costs the government tens of billions of pounds every year and effects one in four Brits.

Conventional treatments and resources fall massively short of supplying help, support and treatment for sufferers and the number of sufferers is rising rapidly and sadly getting younger; society continues to barrage them with more and more pressure, socially, academically and financially, compounding and perpetuating the condition and the healthcare problem. So who should be taking responsibility for the welfare of the sufferers? Psychiatrists? GPs? Psychologists? Their resources of over stretched, under funded, dated and sporadic to say the least.

The issue isn’t so much a question of who is responsible, it is more of who should volunteer responsibility. Our quest for a higher standard of life fuelled by inherent greed, means that most modern humans have a level of ambition that has never been seen before in human history and, whilst our minds have evolved rapidly in order to accommodate the radical incline in the human learning curve in the last 100 years, our bodies are experiencing relatively minute changes in physiological evolution, most of these are seen in physical size as opposed to defence and stress management systems. This means that we are still as vulnerable but the threat is greater than it has ever been, in modern history at least.

So does this mean that we are all doomed to a stress and anxiety filled existence fuelled by our own greed? Well, yes and no. Life will only get more complex, we as humans aren’t in to reverse evolution, even if it does mean saving ourselves and our planet, but there are things we can do to defend ourselves.

The normal course of action for any physiological condition is either to visit the pharmacy or doctor, in the case of psychological illness, the doctor is usually the first port of call. So called ‘natural’ psychopharmacology, such as St John’s Wart and even strong prescription medication is available without prescription in some countries means that people can self prescribe medicines for a wide range of undiagnosed and misdiagnosed mental health issues with very little direction or support. This is not only unwise, but also dangerous; not only physically, but also emotionally, the pay off can be quite substantial. If you self prescribe ‘over the counter’ medication you run the risk of becoming disillusioned by the results, if you visit a private counsellor or psychologist, lack of knowledge with regard to schools of thought in practical psychology could lead a sufferer down a perilous path of self exploration that can be painful and counter productive, this happens a lot.

NEWSFLASH- Anxiety disorder and panic attacks are NOT mental illnesses! OK, they get pigeon holed as such through lack of pigeon hole options, but that doesn’t mean that the treatment options should follow suit. Unfortunately, due to lack of resources, time, and in some cases, knowledge, on the part of the medics, sufferers end up in day hospitals on medication or desperately trying to make sense out of why no one seems to understand, sympathise or want to help. The anxiety is compounded and the condition spirals the sufferer’s world out of control. No one can know how this feels until they experience it themselves; it is so incredibly scary, frustrating and painful and there seems to be no escape; desperation is the key symptom, fuelled by the never ending physical sensations and devastating disturbed thoughts and emotions.

Every day, I receive dozens of emails and telephone calls from desperate sufferers asking about medications, therapy and other less conventional treatments; my answer is simple, I DO NOT encourage the use of medication and there are so many therapies available now that it is difficult, especially for anxious people, to separate the wheat from the chaff; the situation is chronic, support and advice are almost non-existent and sufferers are looking for answers.

As I have already mentioned, anxiety is not a mental illness…no more so than smoking or alcohol abuse; all three are habitual behaviours born of and perpetuated by conscious repetition. As the anxiety learning process achieves credibility in a persons mind, new ‘anxiety’ neural pathways are built, subconsciously enforcing the belief that this new behaviour is normal and perfectly appropriate. These beliefs are then stored as memory and executed as habit. As anxiety levels rise the brain continues to learn until a new ‘normal’ level of anxiety is reached, practically, totally inappropriate but physically scary and uncomfortable…but your brain thinks it’s normal.

So when we reach the new level of anxiety and experience the physical manifestations of this new anxious habit such as panic attacks, general anxiety disorder (GAD) and agoraphobia (not to mention, the aches, the pains, the shortness of breath etc.), what can we possibly do to return to ‘normal’ levels of anxiety and get on with our lives? Should we turn to medical practitioners?

NO! We have to ‘un-learn’ the anxious habit, not with drugs or expensive therapy that raises issues you hadn’t even considered, but with a practical, structured and tested method of re-learning new, non-anxious behaviour. Makes sense doesn’t it?

This sounds simple but it is much more difficult than you would think. The brain has to forget the old, anxious, learnt behaviour and replace it with new more appropriate ‘non-anxious’ behaviour and just like any learning process, whether that be learning to drive, play an instrument or speak another language, this takes time and effort, but not as much as you might think! This learning process is called ‘operant conditioning’ and IT is responsible for everything you have learned… it’s learning through repetition.

Through a structured, informative and supportive program, which teaches you exactly what you need to do every day, every hour and every minute in order to quickly and permanently rid your self of your condition, improvements CAN be seen almost immediately. This can be done… and it works, if you put the effort in, the only reason for failure is non-compliance… if you do it, it works!

Your psychological evolution can be accelerated through this process, you can force your brain to find new learning, coping and knowledge in order to live life to the full, free of your anxiety condition, AND, there’s a bonus too! All of that extra sensory activity that you have experienced during your disorder, every panic attack, symptom and thought, has been expanding your life experience and building new neural pathways in the brain, new, extended ability to process information, problem solve and reach new levels of thought, your brain has been rewired to make you more perceptive, mentally agile and even more compassionate. This experience of enlightenment is documented world over by anxiety sufferers, their carers, doctors and psychologists and is evident in nearly every person I speak to; I have experienced it and believe it has fuelled my ability to do what I do best.

OK, this all sounds really simple and I know that it is not because I have done it, but it is far simpler than doing what every anxiety sufferer does every day of their lives, avoiding situations, people and places, losing time, money and opportunities and not being able to take advantage of everything life has to offer, not to mention damaging cherished relationships and opportunities.

You have the ability to disempower your anxiety disorder now, quickly and permanently! YOU are the strongest person that you know! Believe that!

This method has been confirmed by psychologists as THE solution to anxiety disorders…not one of a few solutions but THE method that every recovered anxiety sufferer has subconsciously used to become well again…FACT

I am sure that other therapies have their place and some alternative therapies provide relaxation and stress relief advantages which assist in the recovery process but bad habits can only be overcome by replacing them with good habits and that IS the answer.

The time will come when this method will be used by every psychologist without exception, (they are already trying to get their hands on it), but until that point, it is my ambition to make it available to everyone who needs it but to provide the information, support and back-up that is so vital to its success, this can’t be taught in a one hour session each week!

Charles Linden

Author's Bio: 

Charles Linden's 27 year journey through anxiety disorder has helped hundreds of thousands of people to find peace and fulfilment. Charles is an internationally recognized anxiety disorder specialist, a TV host, educator, columnist and adviser to governments, industry, media companies, A list celebrities and sports-people world-over.

Charles Linden