Effective Therapy for Anxiety
When difficulties come our way, it’s normal to be concerned or even fearful about the issues we are facing. But what if your concerns regularly overwhelm you?
If your anxiety is constant or overpowering, if it interferes with your relationships and activities, then you may be facing something more severe than chronic, functional worry. Although not everyone who worries about something has an actual condition, those who experience frequent and intense symptoms that interfere with everyday life could be suffering from an anxiety disorder.
Types of Anxiety Disorders
There are several general categories of anxiety disorder, each with unique identifying characteristics.
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). GAD involves chronic worry about things in everyday life. Those suffering from it feel anxious nearly all the time, though they may not even know why. GAD can also result in physical symptoms like insomnia, stomach upset, restlessness, and fatigue.
- Panic Disorder (Anxiety Attacks). This disorder involves sudden, unexpected bouts of crippling fear or overwhelming dread. These feelings are typically unprovoked, creating a fear of when the next attack may occur.
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Symptoms of OCD include unwanted and repeated thoughts, feelings, ideas, and sensations (obsessions) and correlated behaviors that drive people to do something (compulsions).
- Specific Phobia.This category of anxiety disorder involves specific intense fears about objects or situations.
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. PTSD causes severe physical or emotional trauma after someone has experienced trauma like a natural disaster, serious accident, or crime. Thoughts, feelings, and behavior patterns become seriously affected by reminders of the event, months or even years after the traumatic experience.
Treatment for Anxiety Disorders
Anyone who believes they may be suffering from an anxiety disorder should be encouraged to know numerous effective treatment methods. Each technique has proven beneficial for dealing with the conditions of anxiety disorders. By following self-help approaches or seeking professional assistance, you can overcome debilitating symptoms and regain control of your life.
As a first step, implementing basic self-help techniques can significantly reduce the symptoms of anxiety disorders.
When you have troubling worry or fear, practice challenging negative thoughts. Begin to accept uncertainty and try not to require immediate solutions to life’s problems. Acknowledge that worrying doesn’t change anything; it just deprives you of the strength and focuses on dealing with challenges properly. Practicing relaxation techniques, such as mindfulness mediation, deep breathing, yoga, and other similar activities, can have profound benefits.
Identifying unhealthy life practices and making appropriate changes can also help reduce symptoms. Engaging in regular exercise, eating a healthier diet, and improving sleep habits have all been shown to improve one’s ability to cope with daily challenges more effectively.
Although self-help strategies can be effective, it is essential to seek professional help if your symptoms have become so great that they disrupt your life. The most beneficial approach depends on the type and severity of the disorder. In general, most anxiety disorders are treated professionally with behavioral therapy, medication, or some combination of the two.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy focuses on thoughts (cognitions) in addition to behaviors. This type of therapy helps identify and challenge the negative thinking patterns and irrational beliefs fuel anxiety. A different kind of behavioral therapy is called exposure therapy. This approach encourages you to confront your fears in a safe, controlled environment. As an individual faces their fear without being harmed, anxiety gradually diminishes.
There are several medications used to treat anxiety disorders. They are sometimes prescribed initially to relieve severe anxiety symptoms and pursue other therapy forms. Research shows that anti-anxiety medication is most effective when combined with behavioral therapy and different self-help strategies.
Some anxiety medications can cause unpleasant side effects and may be habit-forming. Talk with your therapist about the benefits and risks so you can make an informed decision about the best course of action.
Life is full of challenges that cause us to worry, and experiencing anxiety seems to be an unavoidable aspect of being human. If your lifestyle is unhealthy and stressful, you are even more likely to feel anxious to some degree at one time or another. If your anxiety has become crippling, out of control, or interfering with your daily functioning, we encourage you to contact us to learn more about our mental health program and get treatment at the earliest possible stage.