View Full Version : Query techinque of "flooding"

19-04-07, 10:46
Hey Everyone,
This is my very first post and I am amazed that such a website has been set up. It is so reassuring to know so much support is available and also that I'm not alone in this.

I have Generalised Anxiety Disorder, which on a personal level means I have a lot of free-floating anxiety and in particular (even though I eat fairly well) I am terrified of eating out with people other than my best friends. I am sure this terror is well understand by you all.

Anyway, I went to the doctors the other day and he recommended a technique called "flooding" which entails going out to eat very regularly; so often that it no longer becomes an issue. I was just wondering if anyone had tried it or been successful or indeed had any pointers?

Thanks for all the support on the forums. It's a really great set-up and I really hope you all have got as much support as me from it!

Andrew :)

19-04-07, 11:08

yes my cpn nurse tells me i have to do the same,,as i dont like going out the house and havnt been out for a year now,,, but she told me 2 keep going to the gate and do that as much as i can, which i have been doing and it is not as hard as it was the first few times but it is still hard but its getting better each time, anyway good luck Andrew lets us know how you get on.Take care.

love sandy xx

19-04-07, 12:04
Hi Andrew

And welcome to NMP, lovely to see you here im sure you get some great advice while making new friends on the way.:)

Here are some posts you may find of interest.



19-04-07, 14:19
Hi Andrew ,nice to meet you:hugs: i had never heard of that expression mate!But i do it any way!!Driving is one of my big no no's..so i make myself do it:wacko: and it is getting better so it must work,now i know what it is called:D Love Paddie.xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

19-04-07, 18:43
Sounds like exposure therapy to me.
Works tho - the more you do a thing that your afraid of the less of a fear you have of it!!
Welcome to the site hun:hugs:

19-04-07, 20:11
I think that is true as well - I deliberately go into situations I hate to try to overcome panic - sometimes I dont stay long beause I feel faint and breahtless and hot but I force myself because I dont want it ruling my life. Wenjoy x

19-04-07, 22:22
Hey everyone who posted back (in the same day!),
Thank you so much for all your advice and references. It's really helpful to read over the old posts.
I went out today for a meal before a meeting and although I ate slowly, I didn't get an attack whilst I was there (I had one this morning beforehand though). Having gone I feel a bit more confident, as I do everytime and hopefully with more and more exposure to this, it will hopefully cease and become a lot less of an issue.

Thanks for all the welcomes too!
Andrew :)

23-04-07, 22:16
Its all good in theory but in my experience it doesn't work.
I am agoraphobic and hate going out alone, however i have to do so everyday and take my son the 2 minutes walk to school. I've been doing this for the last 3 1/2 year and i am no better than the first day i did it.
So, for me, flooding isn't for me.


23-04-07, 22:29
Hi Andrew

Welcome aboard and lovely to see you here.

24-04-07, 10:47
There is a difference between "flooding" and gradual exposure.

Personally i wouldnt recommend flooding as that means putting yourself into your most feared situation and letting the panic pass over you. It can work for some people. Whereas with gradual exposure you are working towards your feared situation, yes it does take much much longer but in my expereince has a longer term effect.

Try out several ways and see what you feel the most comfortable with. Sometimes if we flood too often then yes we cope in the feared situation but it can be afterwards the anxiety can hit us.

Do what you feel comfortable with and only push to the next stage when you feel ready and in control. And give yourself rewards and praise each step of the way.

Good luck with your continued improvement

Darkangel x

24-04-07, 12:48
I totally agree that there is a huge difference between 'flooding' and gradual exposure. Back in the 80's flooding was quite popular. I used to see a therapist who is now a Professor and at that time he worked at Barnet Hospital and his recommeneded treatment was flooding. He would take a group of agoraphobic patients on the tube into London and take them into stores in Oxford Street for a total of 6hrs :wacko: The theory behind it was that if exposure was too gradual the patients did not get a chance to go through their panic. I can see some of the reasoning behind this as I know from experience that if I go out and feel panicky and come home still feeling the same I don't feel like I have achieved anything at all. However I do feel flooding is kind of going from one extreme to the other.

I think gradual exposure is best but it has to be enough exposure to enable a person to have some anxiety and for them to stay in the situation that is making them anxious long enough for the anxiety to go away. I know I do this quite a lot. Every time I go out for a meal I am terrified and it's only by the time I get towards the end of the meal that I find myself relaxing and enjoying the evening.