“Anxiety disorders are common in both adults and children. About 18 percent of U.S. adults and 25 percent of adolescents age 13 to 18 will experience anxiety, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.” (How Psychologists Help With Anxiety Disorders). Anxiety can be caused by many things: conflict with a friend or family member, a job interview, social situations, weather and much more. While a little bit of anxiety from time to time is normal, it can become a debilitating disorder. Anxiety disorders can prevent you from living your life to its fullest. The good news is there are trained professionals with a wide array of treatments and tools that can help you deal with your anxiety. With professional help and dedicated work on your part, you can manage your anxiety so that it no longer has the ability to interfere with your life.
There are many different approaches to treating anxiety, depending on the type, intensity and patient.
Psychotherapy and cognitive behavioral therapy are both common tools used by a credentialed therapist to assist a patient wanting to overcome his or her anxiety. Often, a person suffering from anxiety will try to avoid the situation or trigger that causes the feelings of anxiousness. Unfortunately, this can exacerbate the situation and lead to the person feeling isolated and alone. Psychotherapy involves the therapist and patient working together to identify anxiety triggers and develop skills and techniques to manage triggers and ensuing feelings of anxiety and stress. Psychotherapy can be challenging as the patient is asked to talk about his or her anxiety and eventually to practice the skills and techniques in the real world. This is done gradually and with the assistance of a skilled therapist. A relationship of trust and communication between therapist and patient is critical. Both people are working together to move forward in a mutually agreed upon treatment plan.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy specifically targets negative thoughts and teaches the patient how to identify and combat these trains of thought. Cognitive behavioral therapy is most well known as talk therapy. This type of therapy is structured and can help a patient identify and stop patterns of negative thinking. This type of therapy can be very effective in treating anxiety as well as other emotional challenges such as dealing with grief and loss or chronic pain.
Medication, in conjunction with supervised therapy can be very effective in healing combat symptoms of anxiety. Benzodiazepines are a commonly prescribed class of anti-anxiety medication. They operate primarily in the brain and affect mood, emotional reactions, memory and more. Xanax, Ativan, and Valium are all well-known benzodiazepines.
Antidepressants may also be prescribed when combatting anxiety. Antidepressants can change the balance of the neurotransmitters in the brain, which helps regulate emotions. It is important that you only take medication under the supervision of a medical professional and that if you decide to stop taking them you consult with your physician or therapist. Some medication may have side effects. There is also the possibility of negative interactions with other medications you may be taking. In addition, if you decide to discontinue taking your medication, you should work with your therapist to make sure that you do so safely.
There are some important things that you can do to help with your anxiety and it starts with appropriate self-care. Life gets busy and it is easy to neglect taking care of oneself but for people suffering from anxiety, self-care can be an essential part of treatment. Proper nutrition and regular exercise can naturally improve your health and lower your stress levels; leading to less anxiety. Exercise and certain foods may raise serotonin levels while items such as sugar and caffeine can actually make anxiety worse. There are many ways to improve your self-care. Cutting down on sugar, alcohol and caffeine can help your mood and lower your stress levels.
In addition to taking care of your physical self; you may also need to work on your emotional health. Yoga, meditation, relaxation techniques and journaling are all possible outlets for stress and positive ways to build a strong mental and emotional foundation. Regardless of which outlet you choose, make sure that you are giving yourself the time and tools for proper self-care. This can go a long way to combatting anxiety.
Anxiety disorders are treatable. You do not have to walk this road alone. The first step to conquering your anxiety is to ask for help. Our experienced professionals are here to help you deal with your anxiety and empower you. If your anxiety is preventing you from living your life to the fullest, please call. We will tailor a treatment plan to your needs and give you the tools and techniques to stop your anxiety in its track.