Exposure therapy is the most effective therapy in treating people with anxiety disorders and phobias.
This therapy involves you in practicing and facing you with what you fear. It will help you lessen your fear.
People with anxiety disorders tend to avoid situations that make them feel afraid and anxious.
The reality is that the person is not in the real danger, and what this therapy does is facing you with what you fear.
The purpose is to retrain your mind to stop sending fear signals when you are not in danger.
Anxiety and phobia are not born with us, we learn and accept them in our lives, In the same way, we accept them, we can remove them from our lives.
But how your brain works when you are experiencing anxiety?
When your brain triggers a signal of fear, it triggers an immediate response with a fight, flight response.
It is a good thing when you are facing danger because you need to react fast and in the response of threat.
The brain is like the commander of the army and organs are the soldiers. When you feel anxiety brain gives the signal to the adrenal glands to produce hormones adrenaline and noradrenaline:
Adrenaline is the human fuel. Its effect is to prepare the body for the fight and flight response. It increases the heartbeat, blood circulation, expanding the passages of the lungs.
Noradrenaline is the hormone of anger. When the body produces the two hormones as we need, nothing happens because we burn them. But when they are produced just by thinking, the body wants to burn them and gives you some of the anxiety symptoms.
The part of the brain that makes the fight and flight decisions is Amygdala.
The amygdala works fast, without your conscious awareness. It is vital that response is fast when facing danger.
Your amygdala doesn’t care how many times it scares you unnecessary. It just does his job to keep you alive.
You have to retrain this part of the brain, and the best way to do that is exposure therapy.
Let’s see how your amygdala works:
Your amygdala is always watching, for some danger. And when it sees one, true or false, it open flight and fight response, and fills you with fear.
When the threat is real, that’s a good thing. But your amygdala works like it is still 20000 B.C.
Sometimes will make a mistake by seeing danger when it is not. It learns by practice, not by reason or logic.
When you run away from whatever danger is, the amygdala is watching. If you run away from a burglar that is a good thing. But if you run away from a grocery store, a dog, a clown, any situation that makes you feel anxious, that is a bad thing.
Now your amygdala will see the grocery store, dog, that particular situation as a danger. It will make you afraid next time you see one. Amygdala learns by association. It only learns when you are scared.
The amygdala is activated when it spots something it considers dangerous.
It only forms new memories and associations, lessons when you have become afraid. It means that when you avoid and stay away from what you fear, your amygdala will make same “mistakes.”
You are not giving the chance to learn something new.
You should train your amygdala, and you can do this by exposing yourself to a situation that gets you afraid. Start facing little situation and then gradually face more situations that give you fear.
This therapy will give amygdala chance to learn that it is not dangerous.
After some time after you have constantly face yourself with your fear, it will develop a new memory, that will let you live a life without anxiety and phobias.
Make sure fear of leaving before you do, stay in the place.
Conclusion: I know that is hard to face your fears, but is the most effective cure for anxiety and phobias.