Effective Therapy Treatments for Anxiety

Anxiety can be normal. It is one of the survival mechanisms the human system uses to keep away painful experiences. However, when one becomes too anxious too often, then there is cause for worry. The most common sign of an anxiety disorder is extreme fear and worry.

Understanding Anxiety

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is the most prevalent form of anxiety. Also known as free-floating anxiety, it is described as extreme worry and fear when there is little or no cause for it. Panic Disorders or panic attacks, involve intense overwhelming anxiety that comes with acute physical distress. Other known anxiety disorders include social phobia – (a case of irrational fear of social situations that could disrupt one’s normal life), obsessive-compulsive disorder, and specific phobias.

Treating Anxiety with Therapy

A constant or elevated level of worry and fear is enough reason to seek therapy. A therapist is in the best position to recommend treatment for anxiety. Restlessness, fatigue, dizziness, chest pain, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, and abdominal distress are all indicators of anxiety disorder.

There are various known psychotherapies for anxiety disorders. The most common therapies for anxiety are Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Exposure therapy. These can be used alone, combined, or used with other therapies. Unlike medication, which treats the symptoms, therapy addresses the root cause of anxiety.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Anxiety

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) helps the patient understand and manage anxiety. This anxiety therapy has two components: the cognitive component identifies root cause and triggers of one’s anxiety while the behavioral component deals with the skills to better handle the anxiety. CBT helps one identify and replace negative thoughts associated with one’s anxiety with positive and relieving thoughts. This process usually involves a series of assignments and activities that gradually build the capacity to cope with anxiety.

Exposure Therapy for Anxiety

Here, the patient is systematically exposed to the fear/anxiety trigger. By confronting the cause of fear, this therapy reduces the patient’s impulsive fearful reaction to the object of fear. The therapist usually targets the minor triggers before the major ones. These triggers may be internal like fearful thoughts, or external like crowds.

Complimentary Therapies for Anxiety

There are other therapies that can go hand in hand with anxiety therapies, such as meditation and relaxation, yoga, exercise, group therapy, family therapy, and stress-management techniques. Certain lifestyle adjustments may also be considered. One may want to limit the intake of alcohol, caffeine, nicotine and other medications while obtaining treatment for therapy.

Understanding Child Therapy

There are a number of therapeutic approaches that are used in cases where children are suffering from loss or trauma. When seeking help for your child, you should expect to encounter more than one of these approaches. The approach used depends on your child’s needs, as well as, the training and style of the therapist you visit. An observation done by a professional therapist will determine which approach you and your child require. Each approach is effective when used properly and in the appropriate circumstances. The approaches include:

Talk Therapy

This involves helping a child face a particular memory by talking through the parts of the memory that seem to upset the child most. This approach is usually used where teenagers and older children are concerned.

Family Therapy

This type of therapy works to recognize why a child’s relationship with his or her parents and other family members is important. This way, the therapist is able to know more about the child from different family members, which can be helpful during the recovery process. This also enables the family members to get better at supporting the child’s recovery.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

With Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, small successes or rewards are used as motivators, replacing negative feelings, behaviors and thoughts with positive or useful ones.

Play Therapy

This method of therapy might include games, puppets, art or play-acting. This approach is usually used on younger children since they are better at working out their concerns in a symbolic and active way.  Play therapy benefits include:

  • Greater sense of responsibility
  • More positive self-concept
  • More accepting of one’s self
  • More self-directing
  • More self-reliant
  • One becomes more trusting
  • One develops a feeling of control
  • One is able to engage in making decision that are self-determined

The first step in play therapy is for the therapist to develop a trusting relationship with a child. This is important as it enables the child to express themselves freely, while also gaining mastery and control.

Please consider the therapeutic methods mentioned above. They could benefit you or your child.

How to Decrease Unwanted Child Behaviors

1) Understand the “why” of your child’s behavior. They are out of their normal scheduled and structured day. A change in their schedule can cause them to feel overwhelmed. Children will show this through their behaviors.

2) Be consistent with rules, routines, and transitions.

3) Set a positive expectation for the day. An example would be: “I know you’re very helpful. I am looking forward to the ways you will be helpful with me today.”
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How Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can help decrease depression

Thoughts contribute to an individual’s feelings and behaviors. Feelings contribute to an individual’s thoughts and behaviors. Behaviors contribute to an individual’s thoughts and feelings. This is the simple version of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy’s (CBT) cycle. An example would be:

Thought: No one likes me

Feeling: sad and lonely

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