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Short-Term, Intensive Treatment For Anxiety

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Anxiety. Everyone feels it. Some people seek it out. Most people hate it. It also is the most common reason people seek out therapy. 40 million people every year.

What Is Anxiety?

Anxiety, in general, is defined as: “a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease”. Interestingly, anxiety is not always negative. Anxiety wears many hats, and different terms are used to describe it: worry, concern, nervousness, or even excitement. It is also a normal part of everyday life.  Without some anxiety, life would be pretty boring.  It also would mean that we don’t hold much in our lives to be of high value, and therefore not threatened by fears of losing it (or them).

Although anxiety is a normal part of life, some people suffer with severe anxiety that is NOT the same as everyday anxiety.  Trying to figure out if your anxiety is “enough” of a problem to seek out professional help can be challenging.

How Can I Tell “Normal”, Everyday Anxiety From Anxiety That Needs Treatment?

The kind of anxiety that most people feel from time to time can range from minor to major anxiety-depending on the situation.  They key to “normal” anxiety is that it responds to the situation at hand and stops when the crisis or concern is over.  This kind of anxiety can take many forms.

Consider the following statements that are typical for NORMAL anxiety:shutterstock_417230545

“I am nervous about tomorrow’s job interview”.

“I’m concerned about what the doctor is going to say”.

“I am worried about my parents/children/friends/spouse”.

“I’m anxious to get started on my next project”.

“I’m excited and nervous about going on that rollercoaster”!

We don’t typically consider the above statements to be indicative of any kind of anxiety disorder. In each case, the reason for the anxiety is pretty clear and the anxiety is proportional to the situation at hand.

If you are trying to figure out if you need help with your anxiety, NOT KNOWING WHY you are feeling anxious is a sign that you might need help in overcoming your anxiety.  Or, feeling more anxiety than the situation would seem to generate for others.  It can be incredibly frustrating to feel nervous, jittery, irritable, tired, or even sad, and not understand why you are feeling this way.  Where others are “fine” and going along, enjoying themselves, there you are, feeling nervous, and not knowing why.

Or, you might have an idea of why you are feeling anxious, but knowing isn’t enough for the feeling to stop bothering you.  You might find yourself constantly thinking about situations, events, or possible outcomes that raise your anxiety level.  You probably have tried to intellectually “stop” thinking these thoughts, but haven’t had any real luck.

Consider the following statements that are typical for PROBLEMATIC or excessive anxiety:

  • Other people tell me that I’m being “silly”, “stupid”, or “irrational” when I get anxious.
  • My feelings of worry make me feel overwhelmed and “crazy” sometimes.
  • I keep how anxious I really feel a secret from others.
  • I often wish I could relax like other people.
  • I get accused of being “controlling” when I’m really just trying to feel safe.
  • I feel on edge and irritable nearly all the time.shutterstock_418435159
  • I feel a chronic sense of unease, doom, and worry, even though externally, everything is fine.
  • I worry more than what I (or others) think is “normal”.
  • I am withdrawing from more and more of my life just to avoid that anxious feeling.
  • I am concerned that I am self-medicating with drugs or alcohol.
  • My anxiety has me avoiding friends, family members, and coworkers because social interactions bring up unpleasant feelings.
  • I have trouble going to sleep, or staying asleep through the night, because of racing thoughts that won’t stop.
  • I get so anxious that it feels like I’m having a heart attack.
  • I can’t stop doing things that seem to keep anxiety at bay, like repeated checking, washing, cleaning, and organizing.

If any of the above statements describe you, then it is likely that your anxious thoughts, feelings, and sensations are preventing you from engaging in the present moment, or feeling comfortable in your own body.  It is also likely that your anxiety is interrupting your ability to live the life you want to be living.  This level of anxiety is a good indication that you need to seek out help.

Won’t My Anxiety Just Go Away With Time?

This is a common, and good, question. The issue with problematic anxiety is that it is self-perpetuating. In other words, what seems to be the most logical way to react to anxiety often makes it worse.

woman looking though windowConsider this example: You are anxious about going out with friends. You might feel self-conscious, or inferior in some way, and worry that you’ll be judged or criticized , or ignored. Or you might secretly be mad or hurt because of something that happened, and don’t want to tell your friends how you feel. For whatever reason, you just don’t want to go. So you make an excuse and stay home.  Then you feel relieved. This is the kicker. The “bad feelings” of anxiety go away when you avoid the situations that bring them up.

Seems like a good idea…

Except – the relief is temporary. At some point, you will start to feel other emotions, such as loneliness, guilt, or sadness. And if you try to do something about these and go back out with friends, you feel the original anxiety come back. So again, you don’t go out, you feel temporarily better, and the cycle starts all over again.

This is what makes anxiety move from a “normal” anxiety to a “problem” anxiety. The avoidance of the anxious feelings starts to restrict your life. You find yourself living a more narrow and structured, even rigid, life. Your friends might begin to complain, or try to change you. Or, even worse, stop calling. Your family’s routine might start to revolve around your anxiety, which means fun activities diminish, along with important conversations. Your focus is on managing your anxiety, and not living fully and spontaneously in the present.

Yet the idea of just stopping what you are doing and making a change seems too big, too scary, or too hard to do on your own.

This is no way to live life. And it can be helped.

hand writing "Good News"

There Is Good News. People Do Recover From Anxiety Disorders!

Anxiety can be successfully treated. You can focus on treating the symptoms of anxiety, the underlying cause of your anxiety, or both. Initially it might help to treat the symptoms so that you can later focus on the next step, which is treating the root source, or cause of, your anxiety.

What Are The Physical Symptoms Of Anxiety?

The symptoms of anxiety can be truly miserable to live with on a daily basis and can contribute to serious health implications. It is no surprise that so many people with high levels of anxiety turn to substances to lessen their discomfort. Here is a list of common physical symptoms of anxiety:

  • Your heart pounds or races.
  • Your hands feel sweaty, cold, or clammy.
  • You feel jumpy and restless and you startle easily.
  • You tremble, twitch, or shake.
  • You can’t catch your breath.
  • Your throat is tight and your chest feels like an elephant is sitting on it.
  • You feel dizzy or lightheaded.
  • Your feel nauseous.
  • You can’t sleep.
  • You visualize catastrophic events easily and can’t turn them off.
  • You have multiple panic attacks, in which you felt overwhelming symptoms:, an elevated heart rate, shortness of breath, numbness in hands, and/or the overall sensation that you are dying.

Medication can be a huge help in managing the most distressing symptoms of anxiety. A Psychiatrist is a medical doctor (M.D.) who can recommend, prescribe, and monitor pharmaceutical options.

What Are The Underlying Causes of Anxiety?

A major factor in the development of problematic anxiety is our innate biology. The human being, like other animals, is designed to actively scan its environment for threat and safety. There is even some discussion that being anxious is common in the human population because it kept our ancestors alive longer than their more “relaxed” counterparts! Whether this is true or not, anxiety is really a byproduct of how we are built. We are primed to seek out pleasure and avoid pain, BUT we also have this “newer” brain that can do pretty fancy stuff, like remembering events and looking into the future. Combine these two and trouble can develop.

Why is this?

shutterstock_364961879Our bodies and minds are geared to stay alert to present and future danger.  We also best remember bad things.  Once danger is experienced, our bodies and minds are now geared to protect us from getting hurt again. This can mean keeping us away from anything similar to what “hurt” us before. Again, sounds like a pretty good plan, BUT… this plan can, and does, go awry easily. Depending on how our life unfolds, our bodies and minds can “accidentally” learn to label and react to natural and normal life events as “dangerous”, leading to severe anxiety.

How does this happen?

Our brains make links and associations very quickly.  If something bad happens, we have the ability to connect what happened to what was going on around us at the time.  If we walk outside in a lightening storm, and get hit by lightening, we learn to not walk outside in lightening storms.  This is good.  However, if we get hurt physically or emotionally, we might also learn to not trust.  If we get betrayed, we can quickly learn to not get close to anyone.  If we are dominated, we might consider any authority illegitimate and become oppositional. And so on.

Consider this: when growing up, how painful or overwhelming where the consequences of your mistakes? How unsupportive & contradictory were the grown-ups in your life? If you were exposed to physical and/or emotional harm, threats, and/or abuse in your life, and did not have reliable support, your body’s alarm system would become hyper vigilant, and over time, learn to equate day to day life with potential for something “bad” to happen.  A lot of chaos and unpredictability would also activate your alarm system, making it hard for it to turn “off” and relax, or trust the environment to be safe and “ok”.  So, the very system that keeps us from walking around in a lightening storm, can also register life’s “normal” ups and downs, and everyday relationship conflicts and disappointments as potential sources of “DANGER”, even as you intellectually and consciously know the situation doesn’t warrant the amount of anxiety your body is feeling.

This is one of the problems with our biological system’s ability to make fast and spontaneous connections.  Unfortunately, a highly activated alarm system tends to stay “on”, even after the original dangerous situations have stopped.  If you have an overactive alarm system, you are very vulnerable to developing problematic anxiety.

Making matters worse, one sneaky consequence of our instinct to avoid pain is that we also go out of our way to avoid thinking about anything that we know will make us feel pain.  This means that our ability to solve (painful) problems is handicapped from the “get-go” by our disinterest in thinking about them.  It is a kind of a neat “trick” we have, believing we can stop feeling something just by not thinking about it! Again, the truth is that it is not that easy to fool mother nature. When you don’t think about something, not only do you lose the ability to take action, but you send the feelings and emotions associated with the situation underground, which is fertile soil for the development of anxiety. This guarantees that every time you face something that makes you anxious, a part of you has already gotten started trying to figure out the easiest way to avoid dealing with it. It is a biologically powerful cycle, and round and round it goes.

It is hard to get out of this kind of automatic, habitual pattern by yourself.

Do You Want Help For Your Anxiety?

Psychotherapy is the most effective treatment for helping people address the UNDERLYING CAUSES of anxiety. Psychologists (Ph.D.) and other mental health professionals, are specifically trained to help you explore, identify, understand, and alter the powerful “programming” that keeps your excessive anxiety active.shutterstock_373764268

Here at Syrona, we focus on treating anxiety. We help you understand how you actually “tick” and what keeps you stuck in the anxiety cycle. We understand the complexity of anxiety, and recognize the importance of your UNIQUE story in the development of YOUR anxiety. There is no “one size fits all” at Syrona. The more specific we can get about YOU and your life experiences, the faster and more effective change can be.

What Types Of Treatment Work?

A common therapy approach for anxiety is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). This approach focuses on helping you recognize and change anxiety-producing ways of thinking that you developed throughout your life. For example, you keep checking and rechecking to make sure your door is locked, despite intellectually “knowing” you locked it already. The CBT approach can help you to change your thought patterns that keep you going back again and again to re-lock the door. For some people, this approach may be enough to break the cycle.

For many others, however, it is not.  shutterstock_292026260

Other effective therapy approaches for treating anxiety include more emotional- and insight-based therapies based upon current knowledge and understanding of new brain research, as well as the neurobiology of trauma. Here at Syrona, we incorporate the latest advances in treatment, so that we can provide the highest quality of care. What Syrona offers is different from traditional talk therapy.  Many of our clients come to Syrona while in therapy, or after having been in therapy before. Many report feeling like they are “therapy failures” because they STILL HAVE THE ANXIETY AND THE THOUGHTS THAT GENERATE IT, despite receiving good help. For these clients, understanding the distorted thought patterns is not enough to stop the feelings of anxiety and engaging in the behaviors to manage it.  Even for those who have had past histories of trauma or abuse, knowing that their background has made them vulnerable to having “excessive” anxiety is not enough to change it.  To help decrease high levels of anxiety, your emotional ‘biology’ needs to be changed.

Why Is A Syrona Intensive A Good Choice For Treating My Anxiety?

  • The Syrona Intensive are a new, innovate approach to the treatment of anxiety.
  • We don’t settle for just managing anxiety symptoms.
  • We use state-of-the-art advances in the areas of neurobiology, emotions, and cognition to go after the root cause of your anxiety.
  • You work directly with us, accomplished psychologists with over 15 years of experience treating anxiety.
  • You attend therapy for several days in succession, rather than weeks or months, so you don’t have to disrupt your schedule (or your life) to get help.
  • The Syrona Intensives focus on you individually, ONE-ON-ONE, for 7 hours a day. By coming for 2, 3, or 4 days, you get a lot of therapy done in a short amount of time.
  • At Syrona, we provide a powerful combination of emotions- and insight-based therapies with experiential and CBT interventions and techniques.
  • our goal is to help you understand and identify not only how you became anxious, but also what keeps anxiety going in your life today. We then work on helping you change your automatic, emotional reactions so that life no longer triggers anxiety.

Yes, you read that right: our goal is to help you no longer FEEL excessive anxiety the same way you do today.

What Happens In A Syrona Intensive?

First, we work with you to understand, in detail, your life, your experiences, and how anxiety came to be part of your emotional pattern.

Next is the education component (for many of our clients, this is their favorite part). We teach you how emotions “really” work. Combining the latests developments in brain science, emotions/motivation, and anxiety research, we help you understand why anxiety shows up, why it gets “stuck”, and how to create change at a core, biological level. We also help you understand the difference between feelings and emotions (there really IS a difference and, it’s an important one).

Keychain with word emotionsAfter the education piece comes the “experiential” part. This is where the work happens. At a Syrona Intensive, we do more than just “talk” about your feelings. We help you “experience” them. We guide you through some powerful exercises designed specifically FOR YOU, based on YOUR life history. These exercises help you expand your tolerance for feeling your emotions.  Then you can learn what to DO with them, so that your emotions and feelings can move through their natural cycle, and release, instead of going “underground” and causing havoc (like creating anxiety).

Lastly, after summarizing all that you have learned and done in the Intensive, we identify the next steps to take as you go back into your life – armed with a NEW emotional “system” and “toolkit” for managing not only your anxiety, but your whole emotional life.  You can move forward with greater ease, confidence, and peace.

Do I really need an Intensive?

Not everyone needs an intensive. Many people find the standard, weekly therapy hour works well, and much can get accomplished in that format. For others, despite weeks, months, or even years of therapy, their symptoms still remain.

Despite having a good understanding of your issues, and even their function and source, do you still struggle with anxiety? If so, you might be an ideal candidate for an Intensive.

As a matter of fact, the majority of the clients attending an Intensive suffer from anxiety. It is also the biggest reason people get referred to an Intensive by their therapists.

Why is this?

hourglass with blue beadsAnxiety is hard to address and work through in just 45-50 minutes, once or even twice a week. As humans, our natural reaction, when faced with painful emotions, is to avoid them, EVEN IN THERAPY. We are hard-wired to avoid pain, and let’s face it, many feelings are painful! In a regular therapy session, right when you start to “get into” the important but painful parts of your story, you have to shut down to end the session on time. In addition, if your feelings are particularly painful, 45-50 inutes is not enough time to properly work through them. So, a big advantage of an Intensive is the extended TIME to properly, safely, and sensitively, work through the scary feelings associated with your anxiety.

Can I Afford An Intensive?

There is no doubt that high-quality, individualized psychotherapy has a financial cost. Most private, customized therapy programs are geared towards the luxury market, costing $10,000/per week (or more). These prices makes intensive individual treatment out of reach for the average person.

The Syrona Intensives, in contrast, offers several options for high-quality, individualized therapy, all under $6,000.00.

Types of Intensives and Fees

Individual Intensives

These are our most requested Intensives. We work with only ONE client at a time, all day.

2-Day = $2,800 (for both days)

3-Day = $4,000 (for all 3 days)

4-Day = $5,200 (for all 4 days)

5-Day = $6,000 (for all 5 days)

Small Group Intensives

We also do Intensives with 2 or 3 individuals. These work well for couples, families, or for people who don’t want to be the sole focus of the work each day. We keep the one-on-one focus but divide the time between each client, still allowing for intense, individual work to get done each day

2-person Group

2-Day = $1,500/per person (for both days).

3-Day = $2,200/per person (for all 3 days).

4-Day = $3,000/per person (for all 4 days)

5-Day = $3,500/per person (for all 5 days).

3-person Group

3-Day = $1,500/per person (for all 3 days).

4-Day = $2,200/per person (for all 4 days).

5-Day = $2,500/per person (for all 5 days). 

 

If I’m Looking For Help With My Anxiety, What Are The Main Differences Between A Syrona Intensive And A Residential Program?

  • red alarm clockTIME: Many residential programs require longer-term stays than a Syrona Intensive. Many require up to 21 days or more. The longest Syrona Intensive is 5 days.
  • COST: Few insurance policies have coverage for residential treatment; they cover only inpatient treatment (which focuses more on general stabilization, not specialized therapy). Even when someone has an insurance policy that allows for residential treatment, it is unlikely that the insurance company will pay for the full treatment. Every several days, residential programs are required to do a medical necessity “review” on their clients who have insurance. As soon as you, the client, begins to show improvement, the insurance company starts to pressure for discharge. In order to stay and get the full treatment, many people end up paying out of pocket. These costs can run into the tens of thousands quickly. The highest priced Syrona Intensive, an individual 4-day, costs $5,600.
  • calculator and stethescopeSTRUCTURE: Most residential programs are highly structured, and you, the client, must fit into and adapt to their program. A Syrona Intensive is not highly structured and we adapt to fit YOU and what you need.
  • INDIVIDUAL VERSUS GROUP TREATMENT: The majority of residential programs are group-based programs. Most of them provide private sessions with your “primary” therapist, but only for between two and five hours a week. The rest of the time you work with a variety of different therapists in different groups. At a Syrona Intensive, ALL the work done is individual therapy. And, you don’t have to switch therapists. All the work is done with us, and only us.

call now signHow Do I Get Started?

It’s easy. Just call (407) 542-0035. We are likely to be in session so please leave us a message. We will call you back and talk with you to decide if a Syrona Intensive is right for you.

red mail box with @ signIf you prefer to email, contact us at:

Dr. Kelly: drkelly@syrona-fl.com
Dr. Mruz: drmruz@syrona-fl.com

Thank you for reading!