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How Can I Overcome Fear and Anxiety?

written by: Jean Scheid • edited by: Paul Arnold • updated: 5/20/2011

Are you plagued with fear or anxiety? If so, you may ask yourself how can I overcome fear and anxiety. There is a distinct difference between what is considered fear and panic or anxiety. What most suffers need for either condition is a step by step guide or plan to beat the condition.

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    Fear Vs. Anxiety

    414px-Yakunchikova Fear Wikimedia Commons Many people with physiological disorders such as panic or anxiety disorders often fear that a certain situation will bring on an unwanted attack. To the psychiatry world, fear and anxiety are two different things, however.

    Although one can be fearful of having a panic or anxiety attack, fear itself is usually defined as something one is truly afraid of or fears. Fear can come from traumatic experiences, the unknown, and phobias of certain situations or things, like heights, spiders, or flying.

    Anxiety, on the other hand, is thought of as more of a psychological condition where a panic attack can occur for no pinpointed reason. If people who suffer from panic or anxiety disorders are left untreated, they often find themselves in a depressive state, and are unable to conduct the normal tasks of daily living.

    While the difference between the two is a fine line, is there a process for overcoming fears and anxiety?

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    Dealing With Fear and Fearful Situations

    Many professionals who have experience of helping people to overcome fear often choose the confrontational fear method, where people confront or deliberately involve themselves in the things they fear the most. Confrontational therapy is usually performed with the help of an expert who will monitor or join in to help you overcome your fears through repetitive interaction with the associated fear. While this method does help most people, there are other ways to eliminate fear that experts recommend.

    Stepping methods are another way to challenge fear issues. This process is done by:

    • Identifying the fear
    • Understanding the cause of the fear
    • Rationalizing the fear
    • Facing the fear
    • Continual steps to prevent the fear

    This step method explores fear on an in depth basis. The idea behind it is that by identifying the fear and why it’s caused, a person can then rationalize and determine ways to challenge the fear and use frequent reminders and daily learned lessons to totally rid themselves of it.

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    Dealing With Anxiety and Panic

    Ase Wikimedia Commons Because the fear of something may be so great, a fearful situation may bring on a full blown anxiety or panic attack. Panic or anxiety disorders can include fearful situations such as social fears, driving, and claustrophobic phobias.

    Unlike someone who may have a fear of flying and uses the stepping method or confrontational therapy to champion their fears, those with true psychological disorders are unable to rationalize the fear, making anxiety attacks almost guaranteed.

    Some of the steps involved in dealing with anxiety and panic disorders include:

    • Evaluating the overall health of the patient including lifestyle and habits
    • Lessons on managing and controlling anxiety symptoms
    • Practicing control through repetition such as relaxation
    • Confidence building
    • Talk therapy and encouragement
    • Reward systems for challenging the anxiety

    It is more challenging for mental health professionals to help people overcome anxiety than it is dealing with typical phobias, especially if a therapist is faced with a person who has panic attacks for no apparent reason. These types of people, according to the psychiatric world, are placed in the disorder category and gain much relief from medications that control serotonin levels to keep the brain and mind at peace.

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    Therapy for anxiety also includes rationalizing anxious feelings to make a person aware they are in no danger. The more the therapist and patient discuss how the body reacts during an anxiety or panic attack, the better educated the patient becomes, thereby helping to lessen the severity or length of panic attacks.

     

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    Fear and Anxiety Challenges

    581px-Freedom-not-Fear Wikimedia Commons There are many methods to help you handle and determine how to overcome fear and anxiety. Most therapies for phobias can be achieved with quick results depending upon the plan of the therapist and the patient’s willingness to overcome the fear.

    Anxiety and panic are often treated with prescription medications or alternative therapy methods to decrease the amount of attacks and lessen their severity.

    Not all methods work for every person and a person must choose and explore the therapy that is most consistent with their beliefs and desired outcome. Ask two therapists the best way of overcoming fear and anxiety and you’ll most likely get two different answers.

    Failure of dealing with either condition occurs when the sufferer gives up on recommended treatments. Giving up is often associated with embarrassment of the condition or to some, it’s a monetary issue. Neither of these categories should sway one from overcoming fear and anxiety as almost every county in every state in the US offers some sort of free or sliding scale payment methods based on income levels.

    Remember, the first step is actually finding help, something most people are ambiguous about and therefore avoid. But the steps and therapies should help to cure the problem.

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    Resources

    1. The Difference Between (7/23/10) (http://www.differencebetween.net/language/difference-between-fear-and-anxiety/).
    2. No More Panic (7/23/10) (http://www.nomorepanic.co.uk/articles/firststeps/)

    Image Credits:

    • Yakunchikova Fear - (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Yakunchikova_Fear.jpg)
    • Ase - (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ase.PNG)
    • Freedom not Fear - (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Freedom-not-Fear.png)


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