I am a psychotherapist and coach specializing in anxiety and panic disorders. Decades ago, I overcame my own challenges with both. As I psychotherapist I am not licensed to prescribe or recommend controlled drugs. This is the prevue of medical doctors in most jurisdictions, so be advised this blog is NOT offered as or to be construed as medical advice.
In an attempt to treat my own anxiety and panic I sought out help and wisdom from everyone and everywhere I could think of, family, friends, psychotherapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, my family doctor, and the local university research library. (I’ve always been a bit of an academic, and this was in a time when there was no internet! Yes, I sorted this out a LONG time ago!)
They all had bits of wisdom and suggestions, and the medical doctors prescribed drugs – some of which helped a little or a lot yet never seemed to last or really make me feel better down deep. And personally, I prefer not to take drugs for many reasons. I have learned that many of my patients and clients feel the same.
Do drugs cure these challenges? No. The drugs used for anxiety and panic attacks either help lower the hormones in your system that give you the symptoms, or they attempt, through a couple of different mechanisms, to make your feel-good hormones more plentiful or more available. They can absolutely make you feel better, but that is very different from being cured.
Do drugs help? Yes, in some circumstances.
Many years ago, I lived in Florida. It was somewhat out of necessity, not just for work but I kept telling my cold weather friends I may be allergic to snow! My Florida friends had a great saying that applied to so many things in life:
When you are up to your bum in alligators, it is hard to remember your primary objective was to drain the swamp!
My experience has taught me that the symptoms of anxiety can be much like those snapping alligators, and for some people, a good prescriber can provide access to the right drug that can tame those ‘gators! Then, it is easier to get inside your own head and do the work that teaches you how to tame them on your own and get that swamp drained.
Also, the right prescription can, for some people, make available those feel-good hormones which help motivate you to get to your therapist and or coach to learn the skills so you can do this on your own without the aid of the drugs.
The vast majority of my patients and clients who worked with a doctor and chose to include drugs in their treatment plan were able to get off those drugs once they had successfully
mastered the thinking and emotional regulation skills that dependably tamed the gators and keep the swamp drained!
Ending your panic attacks is not as challenging as one might once you learn and practice the right skills. Managing your anxiety is often not far behind. I use the Anxiety Release Protocol (ARP) to coach patients and clients through this learning process. ARP is a series of well-known and lesser-known tools and techniques that are based on a unique life-changing foundation. It teaches you how to lower your cortisol level and head off high levels of anxiety, in a quick, gentle and powerful manner.
If you would like to read about how ARP works in real life, and where it has even saved the day, pick up my book TRANSFORMING ANXIETY, From Hot Mess to Superpower. And if you really want to move past your challenges as quickly and powerfully as possible book an appointment through our website to sit down and talk. If you can’t attend our offices on the campus of the University of Toronto, we can meet over a secure video connection online. Just select a ‘VIRTUAL APPOINTMENT.’
I’ve been meditating for years and have found meditation incredibly helpful on many fronts. In short, it has taught me how to become better at managing my thoughts. This means I ruminate less, worry less, and have come to truly understand that “just because I have a thought, I don’t have to keep it.”
Now and again we stumble on something so powerful and so effective, it is hard to believe we’ve gotten so far without it! You are about to learn one of the simplest and amazingly effective brain hacks ever!
One of the things I learned many years ago, and deeply embrace as a psychotherapist, is the power of continually learning. There are so many wins in being a “learn it all” as opposed to a “know it all!”