Curing Anxiety

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What does “cure” mean?

Anxiety is not like an infection or a disease where a lab test can pronounce you cured with no chance that symptoms will reoccur. It is not cured in the sense that cancer is cured. What we think of as a cure is either a major improvement in symptoms or a reduction of episodes low enough so that further treatment isn’t required.

With that in mind, a cure may mean taking a medication long term, even years, in the way a diabetic might treat their disease to keep it under control. It may mean applying learned techniques to deal with anxiety so that it is no longer crippling or a major impediment to living your life. These are what we mean by cure.

What about cures I read about online?

When symptoms no longer occur, patients are extremely happy and “cured” in the more traditional sense of the word. However, there are a few problems with adopting something you hear about as a panacea or general cure for all types of anxiety. The first problem with these anecdotes is that they really only apply to a particular person of group. People vary on both the cause and the type of anxiety disorder. They also differ in their particular genetics, physical makeup and life situations.

An example from a forum is using magnesium supplements as a cure. It did work for one poster, a person who was diagnosed as anxious and treated for that, when

in reality they had a nutritional deficiency. Unfortunately, that is a rare cause of anxiety and wouldn’t be applicable unless someone was deficient in magnesium. If it was a cure, it was a cure for a single person.

One particularly troubling practice is the offer of a cure as a way to make money. No one can predict with certainty how well any particular patient will do, and those that offer a “secret” or hype an unproven treatment are just trying to separate a suffering public from their cash.

Cure by type of anxiety

There is a clear path to getting better for some types of anxiety, especially those that fall under the phobia category. Someone who is fearful of a particular situation or thing can be slowly acclimatized to it until they no longer suffer bouts of panic or anxiety when confronted with the stimulus. This does take work, but for almost all phobias, a cure through therapy is possible.

Other types of anxiety are harder to get past completely and “cure” would more properly mean a reduction in symptoms, hopefully to the point where they mirror the anxiety anyone else might feel. This is actually a more realistic expectation, but the bottom line is that without a complete medical exam and diagnosis by a professional, and then the willingness to follow a treatment plan with the understanding that changes may be necessary to customize it – without all that, there is no point in talking about a cure.

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