Fear of Failure Prevents Success.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Success or failure sign

Success or failure.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Fear of failure can paralyze you.

From an early age, humans learn to be afraid of failing. Fear of failing and its cousin fear of being evaluated by others has a survival value some of the time. People who are slow to jump in a flooding river or refrain from walking into a tiger’s cave may live longer. But in modern society, this tendency to avoid things we may fail at keeps us from trying things that could make us successful.

Fear of failure has been linked to Eating Disorders, Anxiety, worry, and Depression. The fear of failing also causes some people to become antisocial, cheat or use force. If success is so very important and failure is so unacceptable what might you be willing to do to avoid that failure and guarantee success?

Why does this Fear of Failure mechanism keep you from success?

Fear of failure triggers an automatic avoidance response. Avoid the problem you feel no pain. You also achieve no gain.

Fear of failure in this modern urban setting is more about avoiding shame than avoiding Tigers or falling off mountains. There is a strong connection for many among us between failing and feeling that we are failures. Fear of failure moves beyond being protective when you come to believe that if you try something and can’t accomplish it you are a failure as a person.

In this highly competitive world, some come to think that if you can’t be first place, world champion, then it is better to not try and set yourself up for failure and the accompanying shame. This fear of failure and the avoidance of effort cause you to avoid the activity and assure that you will forgo any possible successes.

Fear of failure affects us in three primary ways.

Fear of failure creates performance Anxiety.

An excessive fear of failure results in constant performance anxiety. By performance anxiety, I am not talking about activities in the bedroom, though that can happen also. Fear of failure prevents people from doing things that might be noticed at work, in school, on the playground, and in life.

The strongest fear known, worse than the fear of death, is public speaking. Most people would rather risk the tiger, swim the raging river than get up in front of an audience and talk about something.

Performance anxiety also affects athletes. Playing it safe does not win games or competitions. To win big you need to take big risks.  Coaches know you need the skills but you also need the heart to take those big risks and make those big plays.

Fear of failure magnify’s Social Anxiety

Fear of failure causes people to avoid social situations. Avoid the situation and the anxiety is reduced. Do this repeatedly and you become afraid to be around people. The avoidance behavior is self-reinforcing. At some point, you will become lonely and isolated. At this stage it is extremely difficult to engage in social activities and when you do you are likely to avoid anything that might be evaluated or bring you notice.

People with social anxiety become lonely even when in a crowd.

School Anxiety can be the result of fear of failure.

Think this is confined only to small children? Think again. Adults who attend a training will attempt to avoid answering questions, getting up in front of the group to talk or any other activity that might result in their being evaluated.

People high in fear of failure find that their anxiety also interferes with their work life. It becomes fear of a workplace. Similar forms of fear of failure can interfere with many other roles in life and keep us from taking on an activity that might result in a possibility of success or failure. People who are high in Fear of Failure overvalue the cost of failure and underestimate the gains they might achieve from success.

There may be times when a dose of fear of failure is protective and keeps you from attempting things that could be harmful. Beginning swimmers should not attempt to swim the Atlantic Ocean. Most of the time the problem with our fear of failure is in the opposite direction. We have the volumes on our fear meter set way to high.

Is the knob on your fear of failure control turned up to the max?

In future posts, we will look at Fear of failure, what causes it, how it is holding us back and how we could overcome those fears. Since the opinions and evaluations of others play such a large role in our fear of failure we need to look at the ways in which we are handling the evaluations of others.

We also need to look at the tricks we play on ourselves to avoid failing or thinking of ourselves as failures and how those tricks are holding us back.

We should look at how we evaluated ourselves and how we react when we are evaluated by others.  A classic example of this other evaluation and fear of failure is test anxiety. We will use test anxiety to examine how our fear of being evaluated by others is holding us back and how we might overcome that fear.

Here is wishing you a safe journey on your road to a happy life.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

List of Feelings Posts

Counselorssoapbox.com

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Here are some of the past posts on feelings and emotions.

Some of you have told me that it is hard to find past posts on a particular feeling. Here is a list of some of them as I find more I will add them. If you notice a post on a particular feeling, mine or another blogger’s, which has been helpful please leave a comment.

Anger – Why Controlling Anger does not work

Anxiety – Fear, anxiety or phobia?

Nervous constitution or Anxiety disorder?

              – How to turn anxiety into paranoia

Communication –

Contentment – How far is it to Contentment?

Empathy –  Emotional Chameleon or naturally empathetic?

Fear – Fear, anxiety or phobia?

Guilt – Guilt and Shame

Happiness – Pretending to be happy?

Happy Enough to make your bed? 

Hope – Hope is contagious

Listening – Learning to hear – Do you need to relearn?

Love – Model for unconditional love – your pet

Nervousness – Nervous constitution or Anxiety disorder?

Pain – When Mindfulness makes you feel worse – about pain

Paranoia – How to turn anxiety into paranoia

Perfectionism – Perfectionism – good thing or bad thing

Shame – Guilt and Shame

Trust – What will the therapist tell me about trust? Trust issues

Worry – Why worry may not be a bad thing

How many feelings do you feel? The feelings problem  

That seems to be most of the feelings posts – for now. But we will need to talk more about these and other feelings again in the future.

Hope you are all making progress on your recovery from whatever you see as your challenge and are moving forward on your journey to a happy life.

David Joel Miller, LMFT, LPCC

Fear, anxiety or phobia?

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Fear.

Fear.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Is it fear, anxiety or have you developed a phobia?

 

The textbooks tell us there is a difference between Fear and Anxiety. The researchers use some specific criteria to differentiate the two. In our own lives, even without looking it up in the dictionary we know if we are anxious or in fear. Like so many other words, fear and anxiety may have different meanings to different people.

Fear is about a sense of specific danger. We are afraid of a person with a gun or an animal chasing us. We might also be afraid of a relationship like marriage or an act like public speaking.

Anxiety, on the other hand, is a heightened sense of awareness, a being on alert looking out for danger. New situations, places known to contain dangerous items or risky relationships, can provoke anxiety because of the uncertainty.

Some authors suggest that fear is or should be about a real danger; though in practice many of the fears people are most worried about hold a small risk of harm.

One other distinction between fear and anxiety is that fear is largely about the future while anxiety is about the present. Anxiety is about not knowing.

Specific Phobia is a mental health diagnosis involving excessive anxiety when exposed to a feared object or situation. This used to be called Simple Phobia. This excess anxiety begins interfering in the person’s life to the extent of disrupting relationships, keeping them from school or work or making them personally unhappy.

Both anxiety and fear are survival mechanisms.  Fear tells us to avoid things that are known to be harmful. Anxiety is about being extra careful when in new, novel situations or at times of increased danger. Anxiety is often free-floating and attaches to any and all events that are not expected.

Fear becomes a problem when it is attached to things with a low likelihood of happening and this fear keeps you from doing things you need to do. When that fear becomes debilitating and prevents having a job, family or friends, then it has gone out of control.

Fear is commonly learned as a result of three factors, personal experience, watching others and verbal accounts.

A child who climbs on the roof of the house and falls, breaking a limb, may forever after be afraid of heights. People who grew up in homes where violence was a standard part of life may be afraid of relationships or commitment to a long-term relationship.

You do not have to experience the event personally. If you witness someone being injured or killed you will have an increased fear of whatever caused that injury or death. Social learning theory tells us that humans have a phenomenal ability to learn from the experiences of others.

Those experiences of others do not even need to be real to create fear in us. Children told often enough about the boogeyman become frightened of the dark. People of all ages can develop intense fears from watching events unfold on television. As parents discover, the young child may be unable to tell the difference between reality and fantasy and may become fearful of things they saw in fictional movies.

There is a long list of common fears below. This list is far from complete and is not in any particular order. The fear involved often greatly exceeds the risk of something happening but as anyone who has a specific fear (phobia) will tell you real or not that fear can cause great suffering.

Fear of Public Speaking or performing in public.

Public speaking is reported to be the most common fear exceeding even the fear of death. The principle concern here is that the larger the group the more likely you are to say something that alienates someone or causes them to judge you negativity.

This is especially crippling for people whose occupation requires them to appear in front of the public.

Fear of Snakes or Spiders.

The majority of snakes and spiders are not poisonous to humans. Still, this is no comfort if you are bitten and die. Being afraid of particular creatures helped people who lived in rural areas survive.

If your fear reaches a point that you can’t leave the house, it has gotten way out of hand.

Fear of Flying.

Despite plenty of statistics to show that flying in a plane is safer than driving a car on the freeway people are still afraid of flying. There are two reasons I believe for this heightened fear of flying.

In driving, we are largely able to maintain the illusion that we are in control. In flying there is no question that our lives are in the hands of a person we have probably never met.

Plane crashes are spectacular and widely publicized. We see extensive media coverage of these events. This heightened awareness results in an increased perception that flying is dangerous.

Fear of Failure.

Fear of failure is especially troubling for those who were raised in a home where success was everything and failure was interpreted as you were defective. If you have to always be perfect to be worthwhile any failure is catastrophic.

Other common fears include intimacy, marriage, heights, water, clowns, death, terrorist attacks, and violence.

Some of these have clear reasons for causing fear and others are likely learned from experiences and tales we were told.

If fear is impacting your life and the fear you feel is beyond the real risk of danger there is help available. Several therapies, as well as medication, have been shown to be effective in reducing the impact fear has on your life. Systematic desensitization is known to be effective in conquering many of these fears.

Have you been troubled by Fear, Anxiety or a Specific Phobia and are you willing to do something about those fears?

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Have another helping of stress. Stress can be good for you.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Stressed out

Stressed.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

You might need more stress in your diet.

Recently one of my esteemed colleagues wrote a post on the need to avoid stress. I am not sure he is right about that. We have been told so often that we need to avoid stress, that a lot of people are avoiding anything that might be stressful and the result is that they are very low in productivity and lower yet in self-esteem.

More stress in your diet just might be what the doctor ordered.

If your doctor tells you that you are now overweight and you need to lose some weight, he does not prescribe reducing the physical stress in your life. He does not tell you to go home, put your feet up and avoid anything that might put a stress load on your system.

What the doctor does suggest is that your exercise put a manageable level of stress on your muscles. As you become stronger you increase the level of stress you place on your muscles. The key here is not reducing or avoiding stress but learning how to manage your stress so that it is a growth opportunity rather than being at a breaking point level.

Clients have told me that their work “stresses them out.” Their conclusion is that they should avoid working to reduce the stress. What they fail to recognize often, is that not working will result in a substantial reduction in income. Losing your house to foreclosure, being homeless or even the task of living the rest of your life on the small amount of income available to welfare recipients is a lot more stressful than learning to not stress yourself out over your work.

Writers typically get stressed every time they look at a blank page. We call this writer’s block. You don’t overcome that kind of stress by avoiding the stress of writing and giving up on your dream. You reduce the stress by writing, writing anything to fill up that space and then you edit and revise until hopefully a piece worth reading comes to life.

Most things in our life do not “stress us out” though we would all like to blame our level of negative emotions on some outside force that is producing “stress.” Most of the time we stress ourselves out by ruminating on the thing we would like to avoid until it grows to gigantic proportions. Casey Truffo described this in one of her webinars as “gnawing on the thing that is eating you.”

Should we by some accident find ourselves without stress one morning, why there are plenty of things we could choose to worry about. Start by worrying that you have forgotten to worry about something important. Get really into fear, fear of losing something, fear of not getting what you want. Create so much stress over what might happen that you are unable to do anything.

The stress reaction is our body and our minds way of gearing up for a challenging situation. The difficulty here is that so many people can turn up the stress, but don’t know how to turn it back down when the occasion for the stress is over.

Stress hormones are supposed to be temporary events. Some crisis occurs, we need to respond and our body helps out here by pushing out adrenaline and other hormones, we are ready to fight, flee or fight. The problem with humans is that most of us have forgotten how to turn the stress hormones off. Three months later we are still telling anyone who will listen how that incident “stressed us out’ and in the process, we are able to relieve the stress.

Have you ever met someone who was highly productive and seems to thrive on stress? Have you wondered what their secret was?

The thing they have found is how to keep the stress external and maintain their responses internally. They have learned to turn stress to their advantage by using that stress to turn their performance up another notch.

The difference between people who use stress to their advantage and those who are defeated by stress is not in the stress. It is in our attitude to the stress.

The secret is to stop running from the stress monster and to turn towards him and kick his tail.

There are dangers in life that we all should avoid. Most of the things that stress us out every day are not those overwhelming life-threatening kinds of stress. The worst kinds of stress are those times when we upset ourselves over things that are outside our control.

Learn to control your stress, learn mindfulness, breathing control or embrace radical acceptance but don’t try to avoid stress by running from it.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Six David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Dark Family Secrets: Some family secrets can be deadly.

What if your family secrets put you in danger?

Letters from the Dead The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead?

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

SasquatchWandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive?

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Books are now available on Amazon.

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

For videos see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking, and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter.

How many feelings do you feel? The feelings problem

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Man with feelings

Managing feelings.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Do you let yourself feel too much or too little?

Two types of feelings problems cause people distress.

Some people feel too much. Excesses of fear and sadness keep them from having the happy life they want. Other people have an insatiable appetite for pleasure. They overindulge, damage their relationships and suffer the consequences. They act impulsively and then regret the result but they tell me they can’t stop themselves even when they try.

Other people tell me they can’t feel anything. They are numb, cut off from their emotions. They don’t know what they feel even when they are feeling it. The numbness robs them of the chance for happiness.

How many feelings are there?

The list of feeling words is immense. Psychologists have looked for ways to make this understandable and have constructed shorter lists of primary feelings. These lists typically include 7 to 11 basic feelings.

1. Joy

2. Interest

3. Surprise

4. Fear (anxiety)

5. Anger

6. Sadness

7. Disgust

All of these feelings have survival value at times. Joy and interest might stimulate us to find and eat food. Fear could help us avoid a man-eating animal. Not everyone experiences these feeling in the same way. We could lump the emotions of fear, anxiety, nervousness, scared or uncomfortable together. Experience has shown me that teenagers will deny feeling any fear but may have a sizable list of things that make them nervous or uncomfortable.

Individual variation

Not everyone experiences the same event by feeling the same emotion. One person may see a tornado and experience fear, another sadness and a third may experience interest and becomes a storm chaser. Past experience, beliefs about the event and genetics may all play a role in how we perceive an event.

Negative and Positive Emotions

It may be easier at times to think of feelings as either negative or positive. The seven feelings could be separated into positive and negative lists. Hundreds of other feeling words might be added to the lists as variations or shades of these feelings. We could also use certain words to describe combinations of feelings or the co-occurrence for two feelings at the same time.

Joy, Interest, and Surprise are frequently seen as positive, though too much interest in certain things gets diagnosed as a mental illness if it interferes with your life. Fear or anxiety, anger, sadness and disgust would form the core negative feelings. Research clearly indicates that while positive feelings are relatives and negative feelings come from the same family there are perceived differences between the feelings on each list.

The gender gap

Men in counseling often report having only three feelings, good, bad or pissed-off. Women often have a very differentiated feelings pallet. Men say Red, Yellow, or Blue, maybe purple. Women talk about things being Wisteria, Fuchsia, Lilac, Plum and so on. Women typically have more feeling words and they understand the labels differently than most men.

Sometimes this feelings situation is reversed and the woman may report mostly being “numb” or disconnected while the man wants her to be able to express more of her feelings.

We learn our feelings from others

There was a time when expressing feeling was not appropriate. People were expected to be gigantic mechanical creatures who never expressed anything. To have feelings was to give in to the flesh. So some generations grew up unable to express how they feel and experiencing regret if feelings ever leaked out.

Many men remain unable to express feelings appropriately. They “suck it up” and go forward even when it would have been appropriate to show some emotion. The result is that unable to express emotions men lose the ability to name what they are feeling and as a result of not being able to categorize feelings and learn appropriate responses they may do nothing until overwhelmed.

So the feelings that are kept bottled up and unrecognized come exploding out under anger or alcohol. These people, disconnected from their feelings, are forced to reconnect when in anger management class or marriage counseling.

When feelings can protect you

Some feelings are protective. That feeling in your gut that tells you this is dangerous, that feeling we sometimes call intuition is meant to protect you from harm. People who don’t feel anything lose the assistance of feelings that tell you this is something you should not do or that is something good you need to get in on. Courage is not the lack of fear, pretending this is not dangerous. It is the ability to fully feel and appraise the situation, but to take action even in the presence of a real danger.

Positive feelings can help create and expand friendships and working relationships. Negative feelings can warn you to avoid dysfunctional relationships and abusive situations. People who use feeling as sources of information lead happier and more productive lives.

Do you feel your feelings? Are feelings your friends or do they cause you problems?

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Is anxiety a mental illness?

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Anxiety provoking.

Anxiety.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Anxiety is a disease? – Morning Question #13.

Anxiety can be either a normal emotion or a mental illness. A little bit of anxiety is protective. It alerts you to danger. If they are shooting at you, get nervous and take cover. Bravery is not a lack of anxiety it is taking action in spite of your fears.

Anxiety as a mental illness is the result of having your “anxiety volume” turned up too much. If fear of everyday things or excess fears about things that have a low probability of happening are interfering with your life then you might have one of the diagnosable anxiety disorders.

Anxiety becomes excessive if it keeps you from having a productive life. If your anxiety is preventing you holding a job, doing positive activities, having friends or if it is making you miserable you may have a treatable condition called an anxiety disorder. That is the time to see a professional and find out about your condition and to get help.

For more on anxiety disorders:  Anxiety

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Relapse on anxiety, depression or another mental illness?

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Urge Surfing Prevents Relapses.

Urge Surfing Prevents Relapses.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Can you relapse on anxiety, depression or another mental illness?

Relapse is a concept that has been borrowed from substance abuse treatment. It is easy to think in terms of an alcoholic drinking again as a relapse, but do people with a mental illness relapse? What would a relapse for anxiety or depression look like and what can we do to prevent a mental health relapse?

We are starting to view mental health and wellness as a continuum so people can move from well to less well to unwell and back again. In that respect, a mental health relapse seems to make sense.

A lot of people experience a mental illness at least once in their lifetime. Estimate run from 25% in any one year to 50% at some point in a lifetime. For an Anxiety Disorder, the estimates run from 10% to 20% and may even be higher than that when we consider the increase in PTSD.

In a previous post, we talked about Bob and Ellen who were treated for anxiety disorders, social phobia and specific phobia using systematic desensitization sometimes called exposure therapy. This is a proven effective treatment for specific phobia. As we last saw Bob and Ellen, after getting better they had both relapsed and were having symptoms of anxiety again. This is not surprising.

From one-third to two-thirds of everyone treated for anxiety disorders relapses, despite the fact that we know why this happens and how to prevent it.

Anxiety is fear based.

It shrinks when approached. We tend to avoid scary thing but the more you avoid them the harder they become to face the next time. Once people complete treatment they tend to stop thinking about the thing they feared. Over time the gains they made fade away. Substance abuse treatment tries to avoid this problem by encouraging people to continue with self-help groups to maintain the growth that has happened. Self-help groups for emotional issues are much harder to find.

Treatment for fear in the office does not equal less fear out in the backyard.

A recovery skill needs to be practiced in many settings so that it is usable any time or place. Fear is worse in new novel situations. Learning, to be useful, needs to “generalize” into many settings. People who are in treatment for an anxiety disorder need to practice their skills in as many situations as possible.

Many people use medication to reduce or manage symptoms.

As soon as the symptoms are reduced they discontinue the medication. Discontinuing medication too soon is likely to result in relapse.

If there is an actual injury fear is more likely to return.

Getting treated for irrational fear is likely to stick but if you were in an accident you have good reason to be afraid of the same thing happening again. You should expect to use extra caution in dangerous situations if you have been injured in the past. Anxiety is meant to keep you safe. The goal is to manage the anxiety not to completely eliminate it.

If nothing else happens fear tends to return with time.

Treatment for anxiety needs occasional “boosters” to prevent its return.

Other emotional issues increase the risk of a return of anxiety.

An untreated Depression greatly increases the risk of a relapse of anxiety, so does substance abuse. If you have multiple problems, anxiety, and depression or anxiety and substance abuse you need to be working on all the issues at the same time. Leave on issue untreated and the risk of relapse for the others increases.

Continue to work on your recovery to prevent a relapse of anxiety, depression or another mental illness.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.