Overcome Your Anxiety And Avoidance Behaviours With The Help Of A Mental Health Rehab

When anxiety becomes overwhelming, it’s common to resort to avoidance behaviours as a coping mechanism. However, while this may provide temporary relief, it fails to address the underlying causes of anxiety and can exacerbate long-term stress management issues. Recognising avoidance coping and exploring alternative strategies is essential for effectively managing anxiety and reducing stress. 

At The Cedars, a leading mental health rehab in South Africa, we’ve helped people from all walks of life address their anxieties and regain control of their lives. Here’s how we do it: 

Understanding The Anxiety Cycle

To grasp the relationship between anxiety and avoidance behaviours, it’s crucial to comprehend the anxiety cycle and how it perpetuates itself. Typically, individuals experiencing anxiety go through four stages within this cycle.  

The Four Stages Of Anxiety

  1. Feeling Anxious: This stage begins with the triggering of anxiety, leading to symptoms like overthinking, difficulty focusing, stomach upset, and sleep disturbances.
  2. Attempting Avoidance: In response to these symptoms, individuals resort to avoidance behaviours, such as cancelling plans, avoiding confrontation, or withdrawing from certain situations.
  3. Experiencing Temporary Relief: Avoidance provides temporary relief, allowing individuals to return to their regular routines.
  4. Reinforcement Of Anxiety: This pattern reinforces the belief that avoidance is the only way to manage anxiety. Consequently, individuals become prone to repeating avoidance behaviours when faced with similar situations. 

Identifying Avoidance Behaviours

Avoidance behaviours manifest in various forms, including retreating, reacting, and remaining.

1. Retreating 

Retreating involves avoiding situations altogether, such as ignoring emails, resorting to distractions like alcohol, or quitting relationships or jobs to evade discomfort. While it may seem like a temporary solution, it perpetuates a cycle of avoidance rather than facilitating growth.

2. Reacting 

Some individuals react impulsively to anxiety-inducing situations by immediately attempting to shut them down. This may involve responding hastily to emails or resorting to anger in interpersonal conflicts, without seeking constructive solutions.

3. Remaining 

Remaining entails staying in unfulfilling or toxic situations due to anxiety surrounding change, despite the negative impact on overall well-being. This form of avoidance prevents individuals from pursuing healthier alternatives, as familiarity outweighs the perceived stress of change. 

Redirect Avoidance Coping At The Cedars

If you’re grappling with anxiety and finding it challenging to overcome entrenched patterns or adopt new behaviours, seeking support can be highly beneficial. Therapeutic approaches like cognitive behavioural therapy can help improve self-awareness of negative reactions, emotions, and behaviours, and guide individuals toward more adaptive responses in challenging situations. 

At The Cedars, we understand the challenges that anxiety can present. Our team of certified therapists are available to help you regain control of your thoughts and behaviours, and ultimately live a life that is not controlled by crippling anxiety. Speak with us today to learn more about our mental health rehab.