Many people experience some level of anxiety at some point in time in their lives which is created by different external and internal issues. Anxiety can occur on a continuum. From “butterflies in one’s stomach”, to a feeling of nervousness and slight discomfort, to overwhelming distress, and fear. Whether a sense of butterflies, or a panic attack, or anything in between, anxiety is information – letting one know, that the system is in fight or flight response; letting our system know that we do not feel comfortable or safe.
As a person with generalized anxiety, I know first-hand how terrifying the world can be when/if anxiety is left untreated. So, if you are thinking, “oh it’s not so bad, I can handle it on my own”, that isolated approach may only work for a short time until the things that cause stress to escalate. Finding oneself without the tools can be terrifying once anxiety sets in. Therefore, it is so important to find an anxiety treatment center and have in place anxiety treatment plans and goals. There are help and support, and research to guide treatment for anxiety.
4 Things to Keep in Mind When Looking for Treatment for Anxiety:
First, schedule an appointment with your medical doctor to rule out the possibility that your anxiety is not being caused by a physical ailment or physical disorder. Some physical illnesses may cause symptoms that are similar in nature to those symptoms that are produced by anxiety or panic attacks.
My personal experience was one example of necessary medical intervention. I was having symptoms that were similar to panic attacks, so at first glance, I was diagnosed as having severe anxiety and panic attacks. However, I was actually having occipital brain seizures and a neurologist had to correctly diagnose my condition, which had been misdiagnosed in the hospital emergency room. It is important to know yourself, your stressors, your lifestyle, and your doctor.
Begin with a full medical evaluation, discuss symptomatology with your physician, and share all you can. The more open and honest you are with your physician; the more information you and your anxiety team will have to work with to develop the best goals for your overall health.
Second, after a complete medical review, begin to research anxiety treatment centers and or treatments for anxiety. When checking out a treatment center for anxiety you want a place that has a relaxing and inviting environment. You want to feel calm and soothing when you walk into the facility and you want to feel like you belong there. You should feel at home, comfortable, and at ease. Yes, of course, you may naturally feel some anxiety walking into a new and unfamiliar place. After all, you have anxiety and new places may be anxiety-provoking, so; that may be expected. Be proud of yourself for taking this difficult step!
YOU took the hardest step in asking for help! If this is an office visit, you will get a feel for the place in general after looking around and sitting down, by how the furniture is arranged and how clean the environment is kept. If this is a Zoom appointment you have the benefit of being in the comfort of your own home, just be sure that you are in a private room so that you have the safety of a private environment for your first conversation.
Third, meeting the therapist, like all the other steps in your treatment plan, is an important step, and sometimes the most anxiety-producing in the treatment plan process. My personal thought is to go into the initial session fully committed to giving the experience a few sessions at the outset. Remember anxiety may say “run”, so having a solid anxiety treatment plan that includes committing to scheduling a few visits right from the start may be helpful. It may take time to determine if there is a match between therapist and client. Remember that you are interviewing the therapist just as much as the therapist is interviewing you. During the interview, it will be beneficial to discuss the treatment plan goals, as well as establishing a personality match.
You want a therapist that you will feel comfortable with but also someone who will provide you with the tools you need to help you to cope with your anxiety and stress. The idea of learning how to cope may or may not be scary to you but it is essential to your growth and overall progress.
Fourth is the development of a treatment plan and goals. After researching the therapist and their methodology, starting the plan that fits you, your personality type, and anxiety type are next. In general, choices for anxiety treatment include one of the following:
Talk therapy with one or more therapeutic approaches – (there are many therapeutic approaches – so, in your interview with your therapist ask which approach(es) they use).
- Talk therapy combined with medication
- Medication only
- In-patient anxiety treatment center – for acute anxiety treatment
You can start with one option and add treatment modalities as you go if additional help would be supportive and/or is recommended. It will be helpful to work with a therapist who will be able to help you to make future treatment decisions.
In addition to traditional techniques of treating anxiety such as those discussed: 1) medical assessment 2) therapy – individual/group 3) medication 4) in-patient
There are a plethora of holistic and supportive techniques that may complement. A smattering of modalities include:
- Physical movement
- Expressive arts
- Being in nature
- Journal writing
- Listening to music
- Sound healing
- Coloring books
- Breathing techniques
- Petting an animal
You always have options to create the healthiest future for yourself and your life!