Keeping Track of Your Anxiety Treatment Progress

So you are ready to treat your anxiety disorder.

You’ve identified and read up on which anxiety problem you want to tackle. You’ve identified your avoidances and safety behaviors. You’ve generated your Exposure with Response Prevention (ERP) hierarchy and you’re ready to start.

I have one more suggestion that might make your treatment go more smoothly—chart your daily progress! Systematically recording your progress can enhance your motivation to persevere through tough exposures when you can look back and see all that you have accomplished in your previous exposures. Also, looking back on your exposures can help pinpoint particular problem areas.

What type of information should you record?

  • Date
  • Exposure type
  • Amount of time spent on Exposure
  • Initial discomfort/anxiety level on a scale of 0 to 10 (0 = no anxiety, 5 = moderate, and, 10 = panic attack!)
  • Ending discomfort/anxiety level on a scale of 0 to 10 (0 = no anxiety, 5 = moderate, and, 10 = panic attack!)

I also like to include the following:

  • Initial resistance to the discomfort/anxiety level on a scale of 0 to 10 (0 = no resistance, I am accepting it fully, 5 = moderate resistance, and, 10 = I’m resisting the discomfort as if my life depended on it!)
  • Ending resistance to the discomfort/anxiety level on a scale of 0 to 10 (0 = no resistance, I am accepting it fully, 5 = moderate resistance, and, 10 = I’m resisting the discomfort as if my life depended on it!)

Remember, start with the moderately challenging exposures prior to progressing to the more difficult ones. Try to do your exposures as many days a week as you can and allow sufficient time.

Given a good exposure plan and consistency, you can make progress towards your anxiety goals! If roadblocks emerge, contact an anxiety specialist.

Eric Goodman, Ph.D.

coastalcenter.org