When Fear Rules !

Left-Over Anxiety and Panic Symptoms

by on Feb.13, 2011, under Anxiety, Panic Attacks, Agoraphobia and OCD

Why are the Anxiety / Panic Symptoms Still  Happening ?

Not a week passes where I do not have at least one client return and express some frustration over the fact that although they have done what I asked in therapy, and even though they HAVE experienced a significant reduction in their anxiety / panic or OCD symptoms, there are still remnants of that anxiety that seem to be lasting.

Of course, one thing that this says is that, even though they feel much better, more in control, they are now less tolerant of any anxiety symptoms, most often for fear that they might come back full force.

However, what I find to be more of an issue  for these clients experiencing these continuing, but less intense symptoms, is that they have not taken that one additional step in therapy that is so crucial. They have not had enough experiences that give them evidence that they have truly faced the SOURCE of their symptoms. Oh yes, I know they realize what the sources of their symptoms are, as that is a primary goal of our therapy, but knowing the source and trusting that you will never fall back into old, sabotaging and avoidant behavior that caused your symptoms are two very very different animals.

I work to help clients change behaviors, realize that anxiety symptoms are most often caused by conflicts, issues and people they have and  most likely are still not dealing with in their lives. So, some anxiety symptoms, at a reduced frequency and intensity may linger – as a REMINDER – as not just a residue but a warning that without true effort to actually change old approval-seeking behaviors, you can easily slip back into situations that will cause you emotionally to feel out of control, and VULNERABLE.

So, a person’s anxiety and panic may be traced back to their habit of getting involved with abusive, controlling and manipulative men, and  then feeling stuck and trapped. So, once she finds the courage to break away from that caustic relationship, she may feel some relief in symptoms. But until she proves to herself, and thereby TRUSTS herself to never allow herself to fall prey to another harmful relationship, the anxiety will sustain  itself fueled by fear and the lack of trust in herself.

So she must not only understand why she has been attracted to such harmful interactions, but must see herself recognizing any signs or red flags early in her next dating situations and then must see herself pulling the plug rather than making excuses for the guys hurtful behaviors.

Panic and OCD tell me the client is feeling out of control and overwhelmed. Certainly they feel that way about the symptoms, but that is only the surface issue. The real issue is what the person feels out of control of in their life. You must see yourself recognizing AND taking control  of the causes if you truly wish to be without those anxiety, panic or OCD symptoms.


Gene Benedetto, Psychologist

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