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Tuesday Structured Recovery Evenings are suspended until 12th September 2017
What makes Anxiety Care UK different ?
Anxiety Care UK is a non-profit registered company committed to helping people to mobilise their own strengths and abilities to deal with anxiety problems; focusing on recovery and a return to normal life rather than simply support. This is usually linked to aid in the devising and implementation of programmes of gradual exposure to the feared object or situation - a recognised and widely used technique
Anxiety Care UK workers are providing a service for people with anxiety disorders and their carers. Those who have been doing this are very aware of the 'silent majority'; sufferers who have little concept of self-treatment or who have problems with low self-value or simply fear of living brought on by severe anxiety that stands in the way of applying these basically simple techniques. There is literature readily available and easy to understand for those who are willing to try to help themselves unaided. Many hundreds of copies of a specially written self-help book explaining the process in great detail have been distributed as have hundreds of leaflets on a wide variety of anxiety and phobic problems. These and other literature are now available via our website; but this isn't enough and Anxiety Care UK has always known it. People learn best from other people, not from the written word.
One of the most frustrating truths to come from this work is the rapidity with which often chronic conditions can be eased by this structured help. The knowledge that there are literally hundreds of people in every town who, for lack of simple, easily acquired skill, are trapped by their anxiety disorders. People who do not need to be suffering the way they are.
Often, those who panic find the symptoms so terrifying that they feel totally unable to confront it. They begin to watch themselves 'tick' and treat the prospect of further symptoms with terror and dread. This inevitably leads to a reduction in capabilities, for anxiety is a shrinking disorder. It chips away at confidence and abilities, encouraging the sufferer to do less and less until s/he may, for example, become totally housebound or so bedevilled by obsessive rituals and thoughts as to be unable to function at any sort of reasonable level. Lives contract. Dread of panic, or of an obsessive response, focuses a person's mind on defending him/herself. Most of this person's energy then goes into avoiding 'danger'. Families begin to revolve around the handicapped member, usually to their great detriment. Frequently, by the time help is sought - when the terror of facing the feared situation is balanced by an intolerable degree of handicap - the anxious person is unable to commit to statutory therapy that would involve presenting at a regular time and place. Even if the sufferer is able to reach a therapeutic venue or accept professional workers in the home, he or she may be so frightened by travelling or the thought of being made to face the fear that full use of treatment is not made.
Here Anxiety Care UK's mutual support, recovery groups, and online support can be of enormous help. On direct or professional referral, trained recovery support workers work with the person using counselling and listening skills. Unlike most statutory responses, Anxiety Care UK has no time limit on this type of help, as long experience has shown that it may then take many weeks or months to help a person to a point where they are able to begin to work through an exposure programme or take full advantage of whatever professional therapy is available. This is because fear at a disabling level can involve sufferers in deep mistrust of themselves and their environments. Their bodies and minds have let them down and may generate terrifying or humiliating symptoms in face of the most innocuous of situations. They may spend much of their lives at crisis points of terrified expectation. At this level, fear does not respond to logic or reason. Such people may be back at an immature learning level that requires much support, simple exposure to positive events and the practice of activities many times to retrain themselves.
While it is accepted that straightforward counselling or other one-to-one talking-help may optimise at 8 to 10 sessions per client, the support that Anxiety Care UK gives is broader based, as can be seen, where recovery work and recovery maintenance may take many forms. Even if the idea of change has been well seeded by a professional therapist or counsellor, it can still take a great deal of supported effort to achieve and maintain recovery, and to face the inevitable problems that life will bring in the future. This type of ongoing help is virtually never available via the statutory services.
Anxiety Care UK's mix of group and individual support, refined over many years, works very well with most levels of anxiety disorder. Clients may take part in online, mutual support and recovery groups. They are always encouraged to 'pick-and-mix' available services to tailor a recovery programme to meet their own specific needs. Anxiety Care UK stays very firmly with the Maslow concept here that suggests that:
if the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to treat everything as if it were a nail
Building their own recovery system from a range of available sources rather than being expected to fit in with what is available (a common but understandable problem with statutory help) has a profound effect on many sufferers, encouraging rapid, personal growth and the belief that they are in charge of their lives.
The availability of online services, mutual support and recovery groups and one-to-one work, where the person may remain anonymous if s/he wishes, can be a vital starting point for many, particularly a young person needing help. Most young people are comfortable with computers and Anxiety Care has experience of teens, particularly those with a social aspect to their anxiety disorder, who find that online contact is the only way they can break down the barrier between themselves and working at countering their disorder with an outsider. Working with Anxiety Care UK's trained recovery support workers online can then be the vital first step into recovery.
The Anxiety Care UK service is successful, cost effective and can be applied by ordinary people trained to a level of skill and competence that is attainable by virtually anyone. However, despite the size of the problem, the need to fund this kind of work is often not viewed with any urgency. Anxious people do not make headlines. They are not a danger to others. They ruin their own lives and those of their families with little outwardly visible sign. To make it more difficult, many unaffected people believe they understand anxiety - it is what they experience. It is then very easy to conclude that those disabled by it are weak and ineffectual. Sufferers often feel this way too, believing themselves somehow of less value and less worthy of respect and support than 'normals', so compounding their problems. But if they could 'pull themselves together' or 'snap out of it' they undoubtedly would.
The man who washed until he bled; the woman who had spent her adult life virtually a prisoner in her own home because of agoraphobia; the seventeen year old girl whose obsession with her bowels courted life-long physical handicap; the thirteen year old boy who was contemplating suicide through his fear of school. None of these and the thousand upon thousand like them suffer as they do because of weakness. It is because they have a clinical disorder and need help that often cannot be obtained.
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