Treating anxiety will depend on the type of disorder that a person has and the severity of his/her symptoms. Anxiety treatment often consists of therapy supervised by a professional. In some cases, medication may be prescribed depending on the diagnosis and on the requirements of the person. The goal of anxiety treatment is to help the person learn the proper techniques to manage symptoms and learn how to cope with feelings of anxiety.
Types of Treatment for Anxiety
Counseling is one of the standards of treatment for anxiety. Counseling allows the patient to discuss his/her concerns with a professional who can then diagnose the problem and guide the patient on the proper approaches and processes to keep anxiety under control. Counseling is generally done on a regular basis, often in the clinic or office of the psychotherapist. It may also be combined with specific therapies.
Psychotherapy is an umbrella term that encompasses different types of therapeutic interaction between a patient and a psychologist or a trained counselor. A patient may undergo one of any of these therapies:
CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) - a psychotherapeutic treatment that examines the thinking patterns that create unwanted responses in the patient. The assumption is that a patient is anxious because he/she has developed the wrong responses to negative, incorrect, or inaccurate thinking that leads to dysfunctional behavior. Through CBT, the patient develops the ability to identify patterns of behavior that lead to anxiety. He/She then learns to use techniques to cope with unpleasant feelings.
MBSR (Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction)
Mindfulness helps the patient develop an increased awareness about thoughts and feelings without associating them with blame, regret, or judgment. MBSR aims to help the patient learn to be mindful of their thought processes and to manage them in a way that allows the patient to cope and function without being hindered by negative emotions.
Some individuals do not require professional help with their anxiety. These cases, however, are limited to people who experience short and mild episodes of anxiety. Some of the most common techniques recommended by professionals include:
Relaxation Techniques - uses self-directed activities such as meditation, deep breathing, and yoga to help reduce feelings of anxiety.
Stress Management - uses processes that help the patient manage his/her time by learning how to work with sources of stress. This may include learning how to organize, making to-do lists, setting reasonable schedules and deadlines, etc. The goal is to limit the number of stressors that the individual is exposed to.
Exercise - uses physical activities to distract the patient from sources of anxiety and help him/her develop a healthier self-esteem and self-image. Exercise also stimulates the production of brain chemicals that promote the feeling of wellness and positivity.
Finding Support - encourages the patient to find emotional support from family members and friends. Socialization is considered helpful in increasing a person's ability to cope with stress. Exposure to activities that involve other people also help the person express him/herself in a healthy and productive way.
Severe cases of anxiety may be managed with the help of prescription medications. These medications trigger chemical reactions in the brain that help the person relax or fight feelings of anxiety and depression. A caveat: these medications carry certain side effects that should always be discussed with a medical professional.