Anxiety, Panic and Phobia Attacks – The Secret to Long Term Relief

Studies have revealed the root cause of anxiety, panic and phobia attacks, but it is not commonly known and understood, even by health service providers. This article identifies the main cause of these attacks and it reveals the two things you must do to get long-term relief from them.

More than 15% of the U.S. population, nearly 50 million people, suffer from so-called “anxiety disorders”.

That’s a lot of suffering. Anxiety leaves people chronically miserable. A severe panic attack can leave you in cold sweat terror dreading you are dying. And phobias paint many people into a small corner of fear and nasty limitation.

Anxiety disorders have become such a problem in the last 30 or so years that they are now recognized as the #1 “mental health problem” for American women and second only to drug and alcohol abuse for men.

But to label anxiety a “disorder” or a “mental health problem” risks confusing the issue. And it risks shaming the sufferer and leaving them prey to the vultures who seek profit and power by defining life problems as medical conditions, so they can medicate as many people as possible.

Just why are fear, anxiety and phobias so prevalent today? Just what has gone on in the last two to three decades that’s given rise to so much fear and anxiety? I’m very clear on the one word answer because I’ve spent many years researching the problem. It’s STRESS.

Stress is the chief cause of most anxiety, panic and social phobias. But stress is not just about feeling tense and wired. It’s about the triggering of our hard-wired “Fight or Flight Response”. And it’s about the release of toxic hormones-drip, drip, drip-into our system. These hormones seep into our blood and tissues where, over time, they set up conditions for “attacks” of fear, anxiety and panic.

In the last 30 years we’ve gone through about 400 years of social and technological change. It’s been hard for humans to adapt to such speed. In a nutshell, the stress problem is rooted in the fact that we’re not properly hard-wired for this fast paced, complicated and too often meaningless way of life. We’re wired for a time that is long gone.

Many people feel lost today. They feel lost having to cope with a life that often makes little sense, a life lacking in clear cues and clues about how to live. And not only are many people under unrelenting financial and work strain, but often their souls also must endure an unsatisfied longing for a loving connection to life and a meaningful connection to other people.

Anxiety, panic, phobias as well as depression, addiction and many degenerative diseases such as heart disease and diabetes-are a consequence of the fact that we are chronically stressed out.

Consider what happens during an anxiety or a panic attack: Suddenly with little or no warning, an anxiety and panic attack sufferer’s heart starts pounding. They have trouble breathing, their chest aches, they start sweating and feel fearful that they’re losing control and they’re about to die-for no apparent reason.

They stand there shaking and trembling in terror, but they have no idea why. And as if this isn’t bad enough, they are left anticipating that all this will happen again-at any moment, a moment they have no control over. This anticipatory worry releases more stress hormones and sets up conditions for a vicious cycle of recurring panic attacks.

Now imagine the following. Imagine that you are on a vacation in the Florida Everglades. You are out one early morning in a canoe with your expert guide. Suddenly, unexpectedly-you’re guide loses consciousness and falls over, capsizing your canoe. Then more trouble. Thirty yards away on shore there are two alligators. They see you and enter the water. They are coming at you fast- to eat you for lunch. How would you feel?

Like this-your heart would be pounding, you’d have trouble breathing, your chest would ache and you’d be shaking and trembling in terror. You’d be thrown into a Fight or Flight Response where you’d have to fight or flee to survive-or die.

What happens to you in an anxiety or panic “attack” is amazingly similar to what happens to you in an alligator “attack”-except in the latter you know why. Stress hormones play the key role, hormones whose real purpose is to prepare you for a life or death struggle.

With this knowledge, it’s easier to understand why there are so many people experiencing “attacks” of fear, anxiety and panic, and we why so many people would rather stay at home where it feels safe.

The key to preventing and controlling anxiety and panic attacks is twofold:

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A Systematic Way Of Overcoming Your Fears And Phobias That Lead To Panic And Anxiety

During the height of my anxiety disorder I dived right into my fears and if I would have known about a step by step gradual system called systematic desensitization back then, I definitely would have taken this less frightful road. Systematic desensitization assumes that fears and phobias are learned and they can also be unlearned through controlled exposure to the phobia, the process slowly takes away the persons sensitivity to the feared object. The process starts with clearly recognizing what your fear is and then making a ladder in the form of a hierarchy from least scary, to the ultimate goal with 10 action steps for each fear. In the case of claustrophobia and a fear of elevators your ladder might look like this:

1) Picture an elevator in your mind
2) look at a silly drawing of someone in an elevator
3) look at a real more serious drawing of someone in an elevator
4) look at a real photo of someone else in an elevator
5) find and look at a real elevator up close
6) take a step into an elevator and then step back
7) go up one floor with a friend with you in an elevator
8) go up to the top floor with a friend in the elevator with you
9) go up one floor on your own in an elevator
10) Finally, go up to the top floor by yourself in an elevator

As you can see the individual begins with the step that causes only small amounts of very manageable anxiety, and from there slowly exposes him or herself to more and more challenging scenarios. I’ve always been big on tattoos, and had a few from over the years. One day, after a yoga session I had toward the end of my period of anxiety, I read a quote on the wall that said, “All power is from within and is therefore under our control.” I couldn’t think of a better quote that portrayed the struggles we overly fearful bunch go through every day. As a reminder I decided to get it tattooed on my forearm, but have to admit during that time I also got tattoos so I could meet a very real need all humans need these days, the need to be significant in the world. As I carry the message around daily,

Recently I started to look back on my struggles and notice that in the end all the tools to change my past nightmares was really within me the whole time. Once I tapped into that power with the momentum I gained from the tools I used in my new daily life, I was in the end completely able to let go of my panic and generalized anxiety disorder. Of course I knew it wasn’t going to be a straight road to freedom from anxiety, my mind and body put up a huge fight determined to suck me back in to the old worry and fear of bodily sensations cycle. Again, this quote that I have tattooed on my arm is another form of the strength that I pull from if my past pops up again in the future. Of course, I’m not telling you to tattoo a meaningful quote on your arm, but I am telling you to surround yourself with things that will keep you on the right track In times of need

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