Therapy for Anxiety Disorders
If you suffer from anxiety, don’t feel bad. Anxiety disorders are among the most common mental illnesses. Yet if left unchecked, they can ruin a person’s quality of life and prevent them from achieving their goals. Fortunately, there is plenty of effective therapy for anxiety that can help you reduce the symptoms of an anxiety disorder.
Understanding Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety disorders refer to a group of mental health disorders that cause anxiety, fear, or apprehension in the presence of expected or anticipated challenges such as public speaking, social situations, or flying.
Anxiety disorders are categorized into three main types: panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Each one is treated differently by a doctor. To get a proper diagnosis, you need to go to clinical psychologist psychologists specializing in anxiety disorders. If you are having trouble getting one of these professionals to take you on as a patient, there are emergency services that can help you out.
Take the Next Step: Get Relief from Anxiety
If you suffer from any of the anxiety disorders, you know how debilitating it can be. The good news is there are many types of anxiety treatments available. Whether your symptoms are mild or severe, medications and psychotherapy are great options for reducing your anxiety and helping you feel your best again. Talk to a doctor to find out what treatment options are available to you and which one will work best for managing your symptoms.
The goal of therapies for anxiety disorders is to reduce or eliminate the fear or avoidance associated with some situations, objects, places, events, activities, thoughts, or feelings.
Types of Therapy for Anxiety:
A common treatment for anxiety disorders is cognitive-behavioral therapy or CBT. With this treatment, you learn a set of techniques to control your anxious thoughts and behavior. It’s a type of psychotherapy that focuses on the way we think and act, how that impacts other people around us, and how our actions impact ourselves. According to Andrade (2003), “CBT has become perhaps the most researched psychotherapy in recent years.” Find out more about CBT in this article from 2003 in the Journal of Clinical Psychology.
Another type of cognitive-behavioral therapy for treating anxiety disorders is called exposure therapy.
This treatment involves helping people overcome the fear of a stimulus in a controlled, gradual way. An example of this type of treatment is having a person who fears flying on an airplane sitting in the back row of the plane without any doors or windows to close. This process helps you overcome your fears.
Another type of exposure therapy is called systematic desensitization. In this type of treatment, people are exposed to situations they fear, but they don’t have to confront the feared object or event at first (e.g., flying on an airplane). Over time, these situations gradually increased, then gradually decreased.
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy
Dialectical behavior therapy was designed to help people decrease their anxiety and activate their coping skills. The goal is to help people with anxiety disorders overcome the negative cycle of worry, rumination, and avoidance along with its consequences (e.g., panic attacks) that often occur when they experience anxious thoughts or situations.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Progressive muscle relaxation is another type of cognitive-behavioral therapy for anxiety in which you learn how to inhibit your fight-or-flight responses by tensing and relaxing certain muscles in a certain order at given times or using a specific muscle each time you encounter anxiety. This technique can help people cope with their anxiety at times when they are unable to practice other relaxation techniques.
Prolonged exposure is another form of cognitive-behavioral therapy used to treat phobias (fear of a particular object or situation) and social anxiety. In this type of treatment, people are exposed to the phobia or feared situation in a gradual, controlled manner. This type of treatment involves confronting the source of your fear (e.g., flying on an airplane) until the fear is reduced and you do not experience anxiety. After the fear has been reduced, you and your therapist use other techniques to overcome any lingering feelings that may still exist.
Some medications can help manage anxiety disorders. Some of the more common types of drugs used to treat anxiety are antidepressants and antianxiety medications.
To get a proper diagnosis from a clinical psychologist, you need to have a thorough assessment by an experienced health care provider. If you can’t get an appointment with one of these providers, there are other places to go for mental health emergencies.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
This is a form of social cognitive therapy (SCT). This type of therapy for anxiety teaches people to become more accepting and open to the things that make them uncomfortable. Encouraging people to accept situations for the way they are rather than trying to change them can help with anxiety. According to Andrade (2003), “The goal of acceptance-based work is to reduce avoidance behaviors.”
Relaxation techniques are another type of behavioral therapy used in the treatment of anxiety disorders. These techniques help people lower their levels of stress, as well as learn good coping behaviors when they’re agitated or anxious.
Biofeedback is a therapy for anxiety in which you learn to control your body’s stress response so that you can relax. It may help increase your ability to relax, slow down breathing, and lower heart rate through mindfulness practices and deep breathing.
Flotation Tank Therapy
Research indicates that floating in a tank (sensory deprivation), similar to the use of the floatation tank at a spa, helps with anxiety. Research shows that it can reduce symptoms of anxiety by lowering cortisol levels (the hormone produced when you are stressed).
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) occurs after a traumatic event involving physical harm or injury.
What to Expect From Therapy For Anxiety?
Appropriate medications can help treat anxiety. These medications help control symptoms, but they do not cure the disorder or remove the underlying cause. Medications are usually used when therapy is not enough to relieve symptoms of anxiety.
A combination of medication and therapy for anxiety is also common and can be very beneficial in helping you manage your anxiety. Therapy alone will not always be enough to overcome an anxiety disorder, but it’s a critical part of overall treatment for most people with these types of disorders. It often requires many months of treatment before you notice a big change in how you feel.