Millions of individuals are living with anxiety disorders worldwide. Whether you’re suffering from panic attacks, debilitating phobias, or unrelenting fear, some therapies can help you limit anxiety symptoms. In fact, therapy is the most effective treatment option for most anxiety problems. Let’s explore the benefits of therapy for anxiety disorders.
How Does Therapy Impact Those with Anxiety Disorders?
Anxiety disorders vary from one patient to the next. Therapy is a powerful tool that can help you overcome even the most incapacitating anxiety symptoms. Unlike anxiety medication, therapy treats more than the symptom of the problem. With the right therapist, you can uncover the underlying causes of your anxiety, learn how to relax, and develop the most effective coping skills.
Since anxiety disorders come in many shapes and sizes, finding a therapy tailored to your specific diagnosis is crucial. For example, if you have panic attacks, your treatment should be different than someone living with obsessive-compulsive disorder. The type and severity of your disorder will also help determine how long and frequent therapy is necessary.
While many different types of therapy are used to treat anxiety, the most common are cognitive behavioral and exposure therapy. Anxiety disorder therapies can be combined with other treatments or used alone. With the right therapy, you can lower your anxiety levels, calm your nerves, and overcome your fears to live a better life. The most common types of therapy options are:
1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Anxiety Disorders
The most widely used therapy for anxiety disorders is cognitive behavioral therapy. Research shows it to be an effective treatment option for panic disorders, social anxiety, generalized anxiety, phobias, and many other conditions. The treatment addresses negative patterns involving two main components:
- Cognitive therapy examines negative thoughts that contribute to your anxiety.
- Behavior therapy looks at how you behave and react to anxiety triggers.
CBT looks at your thoughts and evaluates the way they make you feel. Since everyone deals with traumatic events differently, the same event can elicit entirely different emotions from one person to the next. Negative thoughts can fuel anxiety symptoms and fear for those with anxiety disorders. Therefore, changing the way you think can change the way you feel.
CBT may include:
- Learning to identify negative thoughts
- Challenging your thoughts
- Replacing negative thoughts with realistic ones
- Knowing what it feels like in your body to be anxious
- Learning coping skills and relaxation techniques
- Finding safe ways to confront your fears
2. Exposure Therapy for Anxiety
Treating anxiety isn’t always a pleasant experience. Many people avoid anxiety triggers if possible. For example, if you fear heights, you may avoid events involving anything above ground. Avoidance can be a significant inconvenience for you and those you love, but the problem is actually deeper. The problem with avoiding your fears is that your anxiety worsens the more you avoid them, and you never have the chance to overcome those fears.
While some people react to anxiety triggers by avoiding them entirely, some effective therapy options require you to face your triggers. Exposure therapy exposes you to the situations or objects you fear. The idea is that through repeated exposures, you can create a sense of control over the situation and diminish your anxiety symptoms.
People living with anxiety disorders engage in exposure therapy in one of two ways. First, your therapist may ask you to imagine a scary situation and talk through it. In other treatments, you may confront your fears in real life.
3. Complementary Therapies for Anxiety Disorders
The most effective strategy to overcome your anxiety is a combination of several treatments. You can also experiment with complementary therapies to help you achieve your optimal emotional balance. This includes:
- Relaxation techniques such as meditation
- Lifestyle changes
Overcome Anxiety with Professional Help
Although you can live with anxiety disorders, you shouldn’t allow your fears and anxiety to impact your quality of life. With our qualified therapists, you can find helpful tips to improve your mood and limit your anxiety symptoms. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with a mental health expert.