TERRAP enjoys a very high success rate and we welcome you to become one of the thousands of individuals who have greatly benefited from our services.
While medications can be very effective in controlling the symptoms of panic disorder, medications are never the whole answer. At best, medication can help with about half of the equation towards long term recovery. Changing how one thinks, learning tools and techniques to prevent or lower anxiety, learning how to better identify and express feelings, and getting a better education about what causes anxiety is just as effective and important (if not more so) as taking medication. Medications can often work more quickly in bringing relief from the distress and dysfunction that the panic symptoms can cause, however, they don't teach anything, they don't change anything, and the long term answers for anxiety issues come from the comprehensive psycho educational and treatment programs such as the one that TERRAP provides.
Medications increase the brain's availability of serotonin, which is associated with feelings of well being. People who take selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI's) (eg, Lexapro, Celexa, Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, etc.) and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRI's) (eg, Cymbalta, Effexor, Prestiq) experience decreased reactivity, more evenness in moods, and a tendency to reduce the amount of time that they spend dwelling on issues that can cause anxiety. All of these improvements are very positive and can help people feel better and restore functioning in anywhere between 3 weeks to 2 months. The side effects of these medications include weight gain, sexual dysfunction and something called "muting" where people have a decreased capacity to experience the emotional responses that give color to one's entire experience. For short term, or as needed use, there are several effective minor tranquillizers. The most common are Xanax, Ativan and Klonopin. These medications work quickly and have a low side effect profile.
The treatment that TERRAP provides has no physical "side effects," and can also take weeks or months to become fully integrated into a person's experience. By learning how to understand the cause of the anxiety from a "here and now" perspective, and not fearing or trying to predict and control the symptoms that may or may not exist in the future, the patient generally finds that implementing TERRAP techniques can be an extremely freeing process.
Learning effective personal and interpersonal skills to improve relationships and one's sense of oneself are objectives of the TERRAP program that have long term benefits. In fact, over the years, many of our patients have commented that they felt they got even more out of the program than they expected. Put another way, after completing treatment with TERRAP, many of our patients have stated that they are finally not sorry that they went through the previous period of anxiety and panic, because the treatments they utilized to conquer their fears inspired them to learn, change and grow and ended up benefitting all aspects of their life.
Research studies in the field of panic and anxiety have all indicated that a combination of a comprehensive cognitive behavioral therapy program, like TERRAP, along with short term medication use, provides the best hope of short and long term benefits.
Further, it finds that of those who just take medication, about 90% have a chance of relapsing once the medication is discontinued, whereas, those who undergo psychological treatment only have a 20 - 30% chance of relapse once medication is withdrawn. We certainly support the proper use of medication and we are always available to coordinate care with your M.D., and can also assist in helping you find one that serves your needs. TERRAP enjoys a very high success rate and we welcome you to become one of the thousands of individuals who have greatly benefitted from our services.
TERRAP has partnered with an innovative, state-of-the-art European Virtual Reality company to offer an effective, research based treatment for such phobias as heights, planes, trapped situations, elevators, etc. Using modern 3D goggles, the patient is immersed in a virtual world that is therapist guided and thus can be easily controlled and individualized depending on each person's progress and response. Virtual Reality Exposure involves exposing the patient to a virtual environment containing the feared stimulus and can prepare the person for exposure to the real environment is a way that encourages overcoming avoidance and restriction and instead leads to mastery and success. Over 20 years of research has demonstrated the usefulness of this interactive, immersive environment for the treatment of phobias, and we are pleased to have yet another methodology to help our patients achieve their goals.
Research done at various TERRAP centers throughout the country indicates a success rate approaching 90 percent. To find out why, we broke our treatment down into about 150 separate and distinct components and asked our former patients to indicate which one of each individual factor in their treatment helped the most long term. There were 4 answers that were most frequently mentioned:
- Comprehensive education: "Knowledge is power." It helps to reign in the fertile imagination that is often so present in anxiety.
- Specific tools and techniques- Patients no longer have to maintain constant vigilance waiting for another anxiety attack because they feel more empowered and equipped to prevent and/or diffuse them. When patients no longer fear the "attack," they rarely get them. They are no longer passive victims of anxiety attacks.
- Learning how to better identify and express feelings-instead of keeping everything in, and worrying about what others might think. Being a people pleaser and allowing resentments to store up can actually cause more anxiety.
- Learning how to identify and challenge automatic negative thoughts. We teach you to "fight the thoughts, and not the feelings." In other words, your hardware is NOT weak and defective, rather, your software needs to be updated.
As a part of your treatment, you will receive a lesson manual which encompasses the following components:
- LESSON ONE: Overview of Program: A comprehensive approach to the importance of nutrition, exercise, and a healthy life balance. Discussion of medication, theoretical issues, and guidelines for proper implementation of program for a successful recovery.
- LESSON TWO: Reviews the physiology of anxiety, discusses anxiety symptoms in detail, and the role of the autonomic nervous system.
- LESSON THREE: The role of relaxation techniques including progressive muscle relaxation and breathing techniques. A relaxation CD is given to all participants. Powerful panic control techniques are introduced that help stop panic before it stops you.
- LESSON FOUR: Explains the role of fallacious thinking, misinterpretation of body sensations, and the extreme thinking associated with anxiety and phobias. Learn how to fight your thoughts, not your symptoms.
- LESSON FIVE: Step-by-step discussion on how to desensitize to phobic avoidance and beginning living life again. Get back to driving, travel, elevators, etc. Reinforce specific panic control strategies so you feel less helpless or powerless when facing the fear of panicking itself.
- LESSON SIX: Begin to identify why you become anxious. Too much or too little stimulation can trigger attacks. Learn to identify the stimuli that cause your panic to escalate.
- LESSON SEVEN: Learn how to set-up both short and long-term goals. Learn specific techniques for attaining long-term recovery from anxiety and phobias.
- LESSON EIGHT: Begin to take risks and break free from your "safe/phobic" zone. Get back to being the spontaneous fun loving person you were before anxiety.
- LESSON NINE: The ability to identify and express feelings is crucial to overcoming anxiety. Become skilled at identifying and expressing emotions.
- LESSON TEN: Explore how anger and anxiety are connected. Unexpressed anger often erupts as anxiety and panic attacks. Learn to overcome restrictive messages about feelings and properly expressing this very human emotion.
- LESSON ELEVEN: Develop effective strategies for assertively dealing with people. Differentiate between passive, aggressive and assertive behaviors. Assertiveness is a counter-conditioner to anxiety.
- LESSON TWELVE: Enhancing your communication skills are an important component to anxiety reduction. Master the art of listening, as well as effectively speaking to others.
- LESSON THIRTEEN: Learn how to negotiate with others so you do not have to sacrifice your own needs, wants, and desires. Successful negotiations leave all parties satisfied.
- LESSON FOURTEEN: The most important form of communication is communication with yourself. Adjust your inner-dialogue to produce a successful outcome and a reduction of anxiety symptoms.
- LESSON FIFTEEN: Explore how loving relationships can reduce stress and physiologically enhance our feelings of well-being. Discover road blocks to loving relationships.
- LESSON SIXTEEN: Discover how separation, sadness, and loss can trigger panic reactions. People become more vulnerable to panic reaction after experiencing change or loss.
- LESSON SEVENTEEN: Relapse prevention is a key component to long-term anxiety treatment. Learn strategies for dealing with anticipatory anxiety and worries.
- LESSON EIGHTEEN: Recap of program, how to move forward in your recovery and enjoy your life's goals. Make decisions based on your wants and preferences, not what fear dictates.
Comprehensive Care For Long-Term Results
The following are a sampling of the many questions that will be part of your recovery from anxiety and panic disorder. After the completion of our treatment you will know the answers to these, and many more questions:
- What is happening within my body that makes me feel so lightheaded and dizzy?
- What can I do to stop it?
- Can anxiety and panic attacks cause me to die or "go crazy"?
- Why is it virtually impossible to faint even if I feel dizzy, spacey, or "jelly-legged"?
- What can I do to stop my heart from pounding, alleviate feelings, or skipped beats and sensations of choking and not getting enough air?
- How can I learn to relax my muscles?
- Is there really a "chemical imbalance" in my brain?
- What are the risk and benefits of taking medication and what medications have been shown to be most effective?
- What different kinds of panic attacks are there, how long can they last, and can they harm me?
- How can I learn to be less sensitive to criticism and less of a perfectionist?
- How can I get my family to understand what I am going through, and how can they help me towards recovery?
- How can I learn not to be so frightened of my body sensations, and begin to lead a "normal" life again?
- How can I change my negative thinking, including all of my "what ifs"?
- What are the stimuli that cause my symptoms, even when they seem to come out of the blue?
- Why is it hard for me to show when I am angry or say what I really feel or want? How can I become more assertive and get what I want?
- Am I all alone, or are there other people who have suffered from the same kinds of problems as me, and are they ever able to lead normal lives?
- How long will it take before I can begin to do things I am now avoiding or doing uncomfortably? Will this ever go away?
These are just a sampling of the many questions that will be part of your recovery from anxiety and panic disorder. We offer a comprehensive treatment program, which includes cognitive behavioral therapy, desensitization methods, education, and support for the panic sufferer and their family.
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