Home Health Addressing Your Anxiety: Overcoming Avoidance of Medical Care

Addressing Your Anxiety: Overcoming Avoidance of Medical Care


Using avoidance as a coping mechanism? Doing this won’t cure you of your anxious thoughts.

Instead, take active steps to access the medical care you need to treat your anxiety disorder.  There’s no shame in seeking help, and family nurse practitioners who have completed the requisite FNP online programs are standing by to support you. 

Here are our top tips to help you address your anxiety, and finally overcome your avoidance of medical treatment and care. 

Acknowledge, Accept, and Address Your Anxiety

Anxiety avoidance? It’s a maladaptive behavioral response. In other words, avoidance is a common coping mechanism for individuals with anxiety – especially if they haven’t acknowledged, accepted, or addressed the fact that they have the disorder. 

Often the first step to recovery – from any mental illness or disorder – is acceptance. It’s only by admitting that something is wrong that we can take steps to get the help we need. Astoundingly, as many as 40 million Americans –19.1% of the population – are afflicted with anxiety. So why aren’t we talking about it more? Are we all in denial? Perhaps. Given this surprisingly high statistic of sufferers, it’s likely that many of us are suffering in secret – avoiding our anxiety by burying our heads in the sand, in denial of our disorders. 

The worst thing about engaging in this type of avoidance? It simply perpetuates our anxiety. Even worse? If you’re in denial of your anxiety disorder, you’re also denying yourself the medical care, treatment, and support you need to recover.

Gain Strength by Seeking Support

Considering getting treatment for your anxiety? It’s less scary than you might think. Accessible treatment options have made it easier than ever for anxiety sufferers to source the help they need. Think telehealth appointments, easier GP referrals, and medical rebates for therapy sessions. As well as this, increased awareness of mental disorders like anxiety has made seeking psychiatric support more accepted than ever. This uptake in awareness has even given lease to the idea that our efforts to have mental illness accepted as a treatable condition are contributing to the rise in reported mental health problems.

But this view is problematic. It doesn’t acknowledge the fact that mental illnesses are not just labels, they are people’s real, lived experiences. But what came first, the chicken or the egg? The acceptance that mental illness is a real thing, or the growing prevalence of patients presenting for psychiatric care? 

Yes, admittedly, increased awareness makes it easier for people to come forward. Just like the Me Too Movement – which encouraged women to open up about their abuse experiences thanks to the development of a mainstream conversation around the issue – sufferers of mental illness may be experiencing less stigma in seeking support. How is this a bad thing, though? If anything, we can gain strength by seeking the support we need, and by finally overcoming our avoidance of medical care. 

Take on Your Therapist’s Advice 

It’s one thing to seek support. It’s another altogether to take on your therapist’s advice and actively put their recommendations in place once you walk out of your therapy session.

Bringing your therapy work into your life is the key to recovery. Yes, some weeks, your consultation with your counselor may only serve as a much-needed ‘crying appointment’. But it’s important to remember why you’re there in the first place: to actively work on your anxiety, and develop solid strategies to overcome it. 

Some of the therapy techniques your therapist may use to treat your anxiety can include:

Exposure Therapy

Exposure therapy is one of the most effective methods to treat anxiety. It involves listing your anxiety triggers, and, as the name of the therapy would suggest, exposing yourself to them – in a safe way, of course. Often you don’t even need to be physically exposed to your triggers – sometimes, ‘imaginal exposure’ is enough. Utilizing relaxation techniques while confronting your triggers through imagined scenarios can help minimize their effects in real life. 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT can be used to treat a multitude of different mental disorders, including anxiety. It works by acknowledging anxious and negative thoughts and rationalizing them to diffuse their impact. 

Interpersonal Therapy (IPT)

IPT helps patients soothe, mend, and navigate their relationships with others. It can be especially useful for those suffering from social anxiety disorder or who find it difficult to be around other people.

By acknowledging and accepting our anxiety disorders, we can finally seek the support we need to address them.

As such, it can be said that overcoming avoidance of medical care is arguably the most crucial step to recovery from anxiety.