Does Self-Help Treatment Work?

does self-help treatment work

Not all psychiatric problems respond well to a self-help approach, for two reasons:

  • They need very specialized skills for their treatment
  • If left untreated or poorly managed they result in disastrous personal relationships and the sufferers often find it difficult to hold jobs down nad worst of all they can lead to suicide or homicide.

Anxiety disorders or not such a case and self-help approaches, if well designed can lead to long-term success. There are instances however, when professional assistance is needed, almost absolutely recommended and these will be identified later in this article.

Does Self-Help Work


Several of the popular successful programs that you can use which will assist you are reviewed here to help if you want to explore the self-help approach.

A number of studies do indicate that people can deal with important, difficult problems without seeking the services of a professional and can address their anxiety difficulties. People clearly benefit from self-help. They do get better and stay better. There is a terrible, but optimistic statement, which goes something like this

Nobody ever died from anxiety. You may think you are going to die. You may feel like you are going to explode. You may feel that this is the worst thing you have ever experienced, but no one has ever died from anxiety. “

So this is one reason why you can use a self-help approach to address a large number of the anxiety disorders or issues.

When Should You Seek Professional Help

Perhaps the professional thing to do is to tell you when you should not use a self-help approach to the management of anxiety and you should seek out professional help. I would say if you manifest any one of the following then go straight to getting professional help, otherwise try a self-help self management approach to your anxiety first and if you don’t get anywhere after a couple of months then you may need more professional guided assistance. So what are these signs of going straight to getting ‘real’ help:

  1. Any Suicidal Thoughts or Plans - if you have any suicidal thoughts or suicidal rehearsal plans or you find compulsive suicidal images popping into your head don’t mess around and go straight to getting professional medical assistance. Anxiety is one of the components of major depressive episodes and your anxiety with suicide thoughts could be an indicator of a greater life threatening illness. Also anxiety with depression, lethargy and a lack of interest in life’s pleasures could indicate other things such as hormonally imbalances, diabetes and so on. This needs a professional evaluation and a professional exclusion diagnosis, before self-treating with St John’s Wort and so on.
  2. Your Day Is Filled With Anxiety and Depression- If you display the following symptoms:
    • Feeling sad most of the day
    • Losing interest or pleasure in activities
    • Change in weight
    • Changes in your sleep patterns and habits
    • Decreased interest in sex
    • Feeling keyed up or slowed down
    • Feeling worthless
    • Feeling excessively guilty
    • Poor concentration
    • Thoughts of death

    Then in all likelihood you are suffering from depression, which happens have anxiety as part of  its manifestation.

  3. Tried A Good Self-Help Program But had No Success – Followed the advice and information on this site as well as some other good programs and still are suffering.
  4. Struggling At Home – Your anxiety is spilling over into your work and home relationships and these are becoming filled with irritability and anger. You sometimes how uncontrollable outbursts.
  5. You Are Overwhelmed At Work – You are in danger of losing your job because you can’t cope
  6. Suffer From Severe Obsessions And Compulsions – Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) can be serious and while the prognosis is good it does need skilled assistance.
  7. You Are Having Countless Sleepless Nights - Insomnia is very common with anxiety, but when sleeplessness starts becoming a major issue then you need to do something about it, because very soon you will resort to self-medication to cope and your cognitive processes become impaired resulting in poor judgment and other illnesses.

If you suffer from these symptoms. Seek professional help and do not go it alone, otherwise you can certainly try to help yourself through this difficult stage.