Whether you are suffering from General Anxiety Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Panic Disorder, or Social Anxiety, it is important to know that you don’t have to live with anxiety and fear forever.
Anxiety treatment options are available and can help minimize the symptoms that are experienced. What is the most effective treatment for anxiety? Therapy is often considered the most effective and has shown to provide a great deal of relief from the constant worry and fear that anxiety disorders cause.
Therapy is a special form of assistance that can help with
- Uncovering the deep root of your worries and fears
- Providing appropriate coping skills.
- Learning how to relax
- Re-evaluating situations that normally cause anxiety
- Working on increasing problem-solving skills.
Anxiety is not the same for all who experience it. This causes the anxiety care plans to differ slightly. An experienced therapist will tailor your treatment based on your specific symptoms and diagnosis. The length of therapy will also greatly vary depending on the root cause of your anxiety and the significant effects it has on you. While therapy sessions are not limited, according to the American Psychological Association, many people improve significantly within 8 to 10 therapy sessions.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Anxiety
When treating anxiety, the most commonly used form of therapy within the counseling community is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. According to a wide array of research, CBT panic disorder, phobias, social anxiety disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder, among many other conditions.
Unlike other therapy types, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy focuses on how to appropriately address negative patterns and distortions in the things that are looked at on a daily basis. The main idea of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is that OUR thoughts NOT external events are the reason we feel the way we do. Similarly, the way we look at a situation can affect our emotions more than the actual event itself.
Why does Cognitive Behavioral Therapy work for Anxiety?
Appropriate counseling with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy provides access to restructuring your thoughts, appropriately referred to as cognitive restructuring. Cognitive Restructuring is the process in which you spend time to learn how to challenge the negative thoughts or patterns that ultimately lead to your anxiety and then begin working on how to replace them. This is not a simple task and includes various steps in order to master.
1. Identifying your Negative Thoughts – When thinking about anxiety, the situation is almost always worse than it appears. For example, one who is afraid of germs may feel as if their life is threatened by having to use a handrail while walking down the steps. Thinking about how many separate individuals that touch that handrail can cause their minds to race causing them to have various side effects and ultimately causing an anxiety attack. This may look like an irrational fear to most, getting to that point yourself is the hardest. This is a step that your counselor can help with.
2. Challenging your Negative Thoughts – This step heavily relies on the help of your therapist. They work to help you learn how to evaluate your fear or anxiety-provoking thoughts. This includes discovering why those thoughts cause fear, analyzing the thoughts, and working to test the true reality of your fears. Many strategies are available for challenging those fears including, weighing the pros and cons of worrying, determining the realistic chances that the anxiety-causing event will actually occur, and ultimately avoiding the fear-causing situation. While the last option may not be the best, this may be the only option for some.
3. Replacing Negative Thoughts with Positive Thoughts – Identifying negative predictions is difficult, but replacing them with positive ones may take a bit more time. Work with your therapist to identify ways to replace your original thought with one that brings peace, relaxation, or has a calming effect on you. Finding ways to express these new thoughts are essential, so it may be beneficial to come up with a calming saying that you can use when you are facing a stressful experience that would typically cause anxiety.
As mentioned before, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is by far the most effective way to maintain an anxiety-free life, but there are other options that can be used in conjunction in order to increase the effectiveness.
- Exercise – The body’s natural stress and anxiety reliever. This takes as little of 30 minutes a couple of times a week to help minimize anxiety.
- Learning Relaxation Techniques – Using techniques such as mindfulness meditation, yoga, and muscle relaxation can help decrease anxiety and increase happiness.
- Hypnosis – A little less common, combining hypnosis and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is found to be beneficial for anxiety. This helps create a space of deep relaxation which allows the hypnotherapist to use various techniques to help face your underlying fears.
Overall, therapy gives you the tools to overcome anxiety and teaches you how to use them when in need. Take a moment to decompress and find the best solution for you. Therapy is not one size fits all.