Sometimes, medication can be used to treat anxiety disorders. For many people, therapy is the best anxiety treatment option. Therapy, which is not medication, can give you the tools to manage your anxiety now and in the future.
Many therapeutic methods can be used to manage anxiety. These techniques range from psychoanalytic approaches to cognitive behavioral therapies.
Understanding Anxiety Disorders
Many types of anxiety disorders can all be treated with therapeutic approaches.
- Panic disorder
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Generalized anxiety disorder
- Social anxiety disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
No matter what disorder they are, their underlying causes often follow the same pattern. Anxious people react more strongly to negative thoughts, feelings, and situations. They may attempt to control their reactions by avoiding triggers. This avoidance can only increase anxiety and fears. Modern therapy uses negative thinking and avoidance to reduce anxiety.
Different Types Of Therapy For Anxiety
Because anxiety disorders are different, therapy can be tailored to each individual’s symptoms and diagnosis. Therapy can be done in a group, family, couple, or individual setting. The frequency and length of your sessions with your therapist will depend on your symptoms and diagnosis.
Psychologists, psychiatrists, and other mental health professionals may use a variety of anxiety therapies. Your diagnosis and severity of your symptoms will also influence the choice of therapy.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
CBT is the most popular treatments for anxiety disorders. It has been proven to be effective in the treatment of SAD and GAD as well as panic disorders.
CBT focuses on the idea that your thoughts, not your current situation, can affect how you feel and behave. CBT aims to help you identify and change your ineffective behaviors and negative thoughts, and then provide you with more realistic and practical coping strategies and actions.
Exposure therapy works on the principle that if you are afraid of something, it is best to confront it head-on. Your therapist will gradually introduce you to anxiety-producing situations and objects during exposure therapy. This is commonly done with a technique called “systematic desensitization,” which involves three steps.
Relax – Your therapist will show you relaxation techniques to combat anxiety. Relaxation training can include progressive muscular relaxation deep breathing, meditation, and guided imagery.
List – Create a list of anxiety-provoking triggers and rank them according to intensity.
Describe- In this last step, you will gradually work through the listed anxiety-provoking situations or objects, and use relaxation techniques as needed.
Dialectical Behavioral Treatment
Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) can be a very effective form of CBT. DBT was originally used to treat borderline personality disorder (BPD), but it is now being used for a wide range of conditions, including anxiety.
Acceptance And Commitment Therapy
Acceptance-and-commitment therapy (ACT) has also been proven to be effective in treating anxiety disorders. ACT is about identifying your core values and then acting according to them.
Art therapy focuses on non-verbal and experience-oriented therapies. This therapy uses visual art (such as sculpting, painting, and drawing) to express emotion and relax. It can be used as a standalone therapy but is often combined with CBT.
Anxiety symptoms are a sign of unconscious conflicts. Psychoanalytic therapy’s purpose is to address them. Psychoanalysis is a process where you and your therapist discuss your thoughts, fears, and desires to understand yourself and reduce anxiety. This is the most intense form of therapy and can take many years to find patterns in your thinking.
Interpersonal Therapy (IPT), focuses on relationships and social roles. We will help you identify and resolve any interpersonal issues, including unresolved grief, conflict with family or friends or changes in work or social role, or problems relating to other people. Then, you’ll learn healthy ways of expressing emotions and how to better communicate with others.