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.
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.