Anxiety disorders can be distressing and even debilitating, affecting a person’s ability to work, go to school, and comfortably participate in everyday life out in the world. Without anxiety treatment, the disorder can lead to struggles in school, fewer employment opportunities, and difficulty in relationships with friends and family.
What Is Anxiety?
Anxiety refers to the nervous anticipation of a future concern and typically involves muscle tension and avoidance behavior. It is a perfectly normal response to stressful situations. Anxiety is usually considered negative but can be beneficial at times. Anxious feelings work in our favor by alerting us to dangers and helping us prepare and pay attention. However, anxiety disorders are different from normal feelings of anxiousness and nervousness. Anxiety disorders involve an excessive fear or anxiety and are the most common mental health conditions in the country, affecting nearly 30% of adults at some point in their lives. With anxiety treatment, most people still lead happy, healthy, and productive lives.
It is common to experience some level of anxiety while coping with stressful events or significant life changes, and most people feel anxious from time to time. You probably feel anxious when you get worried or are afraid about things that will happen in the future. Anxiety therapy may be necessary when your nervousness becomes overwhelming. For example, you avoid putting yourself in situations out of fear that you will become debilitated with anxiety. Anxiety treatment could be needed when the disorder impacts your ability to live as fully as you want. For example, anxiety treatment may be able to help in the following events:
- You have extreme feelings of anxiety
- Your anxiety lasts for a long time
- You are avoiding situations that could cause you to feel anxious
- Your worries are distressing
- You suffer from some symptoms of anxiety, including panic attacks
What Does Anxiety Treatment Look Like?
There are many different ways to treat anxiety disorders, including anxiety therapy, mindfulness, exercise, changes in diet, relaxation techniques, and medication. The two primary components of a professional anxiety treatment will often include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) anxiety therapy and proper prescription medication.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is the most effective form of psychotherapy for anxiety disorders. CBT anxiety therapy is usually a short-term treatment that focuses on teaching patients life skills and coping mechanisms capable of improving their symptoms and allowing them to gradually return to the activities they have been avoiding because of their anxiety.
CBT is used during anxiety treatment and typically includes exposure therapy. This is a significant component of anxiety therapy that involves deliberately confronting your fears to desensitize yourself. Exposure to your fears means you will gradually be trained to redefine the danger or triggering event/situation. Over time, you will build the confidence to manage the situation and anxiety symptoms in the real world on your own.
Various medications have proved helpful in relieving anxiety symptoms and are used during anxiety treatment. The type of medication that will work best for you will depend largely on the type of anxiety disorder you have and whether you also have other mental or physical health issues.
You may benefit most from a combination of both medication and anxiety therapy. Remember that it may take time to discover which blend of anxiety treatments works best for you.