Posted on June 18, 2019
If you experience persistent apprehension, worry, or angst on a regular basis, you may be suffering from anxiety. Don’t worry, you’re not alone—more than 40,000,000 Americans suffer from an anxiety disorder. And yet, only 36% seek therapy for anxiety.
Anxiety is misunderstood by many, and there’s no reason why you should suffer the effects of anxiety alone. There are different anxiety therapy treatment options that can help you manage this condition. Below, we’ll discuss what anxiety therapy is and the most common treatments available for you.
It’s important to understand the difference between feeling anxious periodically and having chronic and ongoing anxiety. If you have an anxiety disorder, the following symptoms will manifest and reappear for long periods of time. Common symptoms are:
Long-held anxiety can lead to a host of health and social issues, including:
While the exact reasons why you might develop anxiety remain unknown, studies show that there are several factors that can increase the chance of you developing one. Risk factors for anxiety are:
Today, there are various therapies a person can use to improve their situation. These include:
CBT is one of the most popular and effective methods of treatment for anxiety disorders. It emphasizes pinpointing, understanding, and then altering harmful thinking or behavioral patterns. CBT therapy will typically run for three to four months, depending on the severity of the case and the progress that’s made.
It’s a hands-on practical form of therapy that focuses on problem-solving for those suffering from anxiety. It allows you to be an active participant in your own recovery. Emphasis is placed on learning coping skills and understanding how to have control over your thoughts and actions. Studies show “that over 60% of those who undergo CBT experience substantial improvements in anxiety symptoms.”
CBT is an active form of therapy and may include:
ACT focuses on enabling you to use your words to handle the feelings and thoughts in your head. It emphasizes accepting the thoughts running through your mind instead of fighting them in order to gain greater mental fitness. This live-in-the-moment attitude is meant to prevent using avoidance as an ineffective means of coping with anxiety. Instead, a mental health professional will encourage you to:
Unlike CBT, ACT doesn’t focus on cutting down the severity or frequency of bad thoughts or emotions. Instead, its intention is to help you let go of the need to control those thoughts or emotions in lieu of being present in your own life.
ET is a branch of CBT that focuses on desensitizing you to fears, phobias, and anxieties by exposure to them. ET was created to help you learn to confront your fears and look them dead in the eye, rather than running or cowering from them. Fear is often the underlying reason why people avoid certain activities, situations, or people. Avoidance often allows the problem to fester and fears to gain even more power over you.
In Exposure Therapy, therapists create a safe space in which you’ll be exposed to the aspects of life that you tend to fear and avoid. Common strategies include:
IPT is a short-term, focused approach to treating anxiety. It typically lasts 12 to 16 sessions which are meant to collect information on your current relationships. The focus on interpersonal relationships is intended to help you change relationship patterns, behaviors, or maladaptive thoughts that are related to others in your life. It’s less focused on your cognitive behavior and more focused on how others impact you.
Strategies and therapies are based upon your social history, close relationships, and any changes in patterns or expectations.
DBT is a form of therapy that combines CBT techniques with thoughts and practices drawn from Eastern thought and meditation. It’s a derivative of an Eastern thought process known as dialectics, which hinges upon the concept of opposites, and that change occurs when one force becomes stronger than the other. A mental health professional will help you make three key assumptions:
In DBT, you and your therapist work to find a balance to create patterns of positive change. It consists of three forms of therapy:
Contrary to most forms of talk therapy, EMDR focuses less on a traumatic event and more on the unpleasant emotions and symptoms that result from it. While it’s effective for some cases of anxiety, it can be incredibly helpful for individuals who have PTSD.
Your therapist may prescribe you medication to assist with the alleviation of certain symptoms. Typically, this is done in conjunction with your standard discussion therapies for the best results. Common medications include:
Getting Treatment For Mental Illness
You don’t have to suffer from an anxiety disorder alone. Anxiety is treatable. With Advekit, you can get connected to the proper form of treatment and find the right match for a therapist near you. The therapist you’re paired with will help determine the proper treatment course for you.
Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Facts and Statistics. https://adaa.org/about-adaa/press-room/facts-statistics
Mayo Clinic. Anxiety Disorders. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/anxiety/symptoms-causes/syc-20350961
UNC Department of Psychology. Effective Treatments for Anxiety. https://clinic.unc.edu/anxiety-clinic/for-consumers/effective-treatments-for-anxiety/
American Psychological Association. What is Exposure Therapy? https://www.apa.org/ptsd-guideline/patients-and-families/exposure-therapy
Medical News Today. Benefits and Risks of Benzodiazepines. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/262809.php
Mayo Clinic. Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depression/in-depth/ssris/art-20044825
Alison LaSov, LMFT
Alison LaSov is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist with experience treating clients struggling with anxiety and depression. She predominantly focuses on mental health intervention for children and adolescents, particularly those who are in crisis. She has worked within the Los Angeles education system treating students with Individualized Education Plans (IEPs), as well as supervised a non-profit Teen Crisis Hotline out of Cedars-Sinai Hospital. Alison earned her B.A. from UCLA and M.A. from Pepperdine University. She is a native to Los Angeles and co-founder at Advekit.