Online Self-Help Programs for Anxiety Disorders

If you suffer from anxiety issues, you know that the internet is filled with sites that offer CDs, DVDs, eBooks and other programs for treating anxiety and phobias. Their promise of quick cures for anxiety, panic attacks, phobias, and a host of other anxiety related conditions is very appealing to someone that has suffered for years and is willing to try anything. But you should watch out for claims such as ‘instant cure’, ‘guaranteed results’, a ‘revolutionary technique’, ‘natural’, ‘exclusive’, etc.

First, consider that all the CDs, DVDs and self-help manuals are based on obsolete theories. They will give you advice that you already know. Second, even if the recommendation are sound, the nature of anxiety and phobia dictates a very strong resistance to change. This is very important to consider. Your resistance does not mean that there is something wrong with you or that there is no hope for you to free yourself from this problem.

On the contrary, if there is no resistance to change, then you do not have any anxiety or phobia. Therefore, just listening to a CD or reading a manual that tells you what to do, cannot neutralize this resistance. You have to realize that not even experienced therapists know how to handle and overcome such resistance. Some even dismiss you saying, “You are too resistant. I can’t work with you. You don’t want to change”. They don’t know that you do want to change. It’s just that you don’t know how. It is their task to help you with this resistance. However, most of them don’t even know that the resistance, as I said, is an unavoidable factor in anxiety and phobia related problems.

Put plainly, these programs do not work and they are a waste of your money. However, more important than your time and your money there is a more serious consequence. The most dangerous outcome of these programs is that, they create in you a feeling of frustration. Not only they are useless, they make you think that you are a difficult case.

As consumers we have become accustomed to being reassured by a money back guarantees. But when it comes to such online deals it signals the very opposite and you should run (or click) the other way.

Let me explain. In psychology there is a principle known as “cognitive dissonance theory”. It means that when we make a decision, in this case buying something, from the moment we commit and pay for a product, we start feeling two opposing thoughts. On the one hand we feel that we made a good choice, but on the other hand we feel that we shouldn’t have.

This post purchase rationalization is also called Buyers’ Stockholm Syndrome. All these terminologies explain that when you by a product, you tend to overlook any faults or defects in order to justify the purchase. So, after you purchased one of these self-help programs for anxiety and phobias, you are very unlikely to return it. If they don’t give any result, which they don’t, you justify your decision by thinking that it was probably your fault that you didn’t follow the program or that perhaps you didn’t understand it, or worst of all, as I said it before, that your anxiety and phobia is an especially stubborn one.

The more they insist on their guarantee, and the more make a big deal out of it, the more you should distrust them.

Although the vast majority of such programs serve to only separate you from your money, some may sincerely be trying to help. Some of the programs that are available online are produced by a certified counselors or even clinical psychologists or other medical professionals. For this group of programs, although their intentions are praiseworthy and pure, the reality is that they do not deliver results.

I repeat: the very nature of anxiety and phobia-related conditions make it so that there is a strong resistance to change. Most professionals in this field are unable to help you with one on one and face-to-face sessions, let alone hoping and wishing that an inanimate object like a CD and an eBook manual (that cannot interact with you) solves your problem. It can’t and doesn’t.

Here are few Reviews of Anxiety Self-Help Products Available Online:

“This article marks the first in a series of reviews of different self-help methods and websites that I have personally used. If you have questions or your own experiences with a specific method, please feel free to leave a comment.”

This reviewer makes two interesting points:

  1. These self-help methods are a business. Their goal is to make money.
  2. Every single person is different. Their symptoms are different. Their levels of illness are different. And therefore, there is no one definitive way to treat or cure a nervous illness.

Here’s a review of the product called “The Linden Method” “The World’s Premier Anxiety Elimination Program”

Cost: $109 (Download) $177 (Printed)

“…the basic idea of the method is to force the anxiety deep into your subconscious mind until it goes away.”

Review of the product called “Change That’s Right Now”
Cost: $236
Money Back Guarantee
$99 Special Rebate

“This program definitely has the most aggressive sales pitch of any that I have looked in to. Videos on every page. Testimonials from “prominent” media figures. Worldwide acclaim. Promises of results in 24 hours. Rebates and guarantees. It must be the answer, right? Wrong!”

“Overall this program was a complete waste of money, a lot of time, and a portion of my sanity. Their vague promises and terrible customer service alone are a good enough reason to avoid this program. But the program itself is just silly and disappointing. Try it out if you like, but make sure you are ready to jump through plenty of hoops to get your money back, if you choose to.”

If you are really tempted to purchase one of these online products, I suggest you check them out on the internet first. But be wary of positive reviews as they could be written by affiliate marketers or those who are falsely promoting the product to receive a commission. While the internet and the digital age is a wonderful thing, we should recognize that it can not be used as the proper channel for all things in all cases.