Therapy for Anxiety

A large number of people are severely plagued by anxiety. In fact, anxiety disorders are considered the most common mental illness in America. It is estimated that around 40 million people are affected by anxiety each year. Anxiety disorders are very treatable, however, only around a third of those affected actually seek treatment. Various therapeutic strategies have been created to help treat anxiety, and have been shown to be quite effective in patients. Getting help from a therapist for a mental illness can make a difference in your health and strengthen your ability to deal with anxiety on a daily basis.

What kind of anxiety disorders can be treated through therapy?

People with anxiety are more likely to react to their unpleasant feelings, thoughts, and situations way more than those who aren’t anxious. By seeking help from a therapist, patients can become more aware of how they avoid certain triggers and how this avoidance may only reinforce their fears. Therapy addresses negative thinking associated with anxiety, and helps patients learn how to cope. Anxiety disorders that can be treated through therapy include:

  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Phobias
  • Panic disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Social anxiety disorder

What are some approaches to treating patients with anxiety?

The intention of anxiety therapy is to help patients learn how to handle and overcome their fear, along with calming emotional reactions to stressful events or triggers. Whether you are participating in individual therapy or group therapy, both can be immensely useful in combating your anxiety disorder. Here are examples of approaches to treating patients with anxiety: 

  • Exposure Therapy: often used in combination with cognitive-behavioral therapy, exposure therapy is when patients are exposed to or imagine something that causes them fear, and then eventually teach their body to become desensitized to that trigger. 
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy: teaches people how to manage their emotions and reactions, especially for those with borderline personality disorder (BPD) in their relationships with others. 
  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy: examining negative thought patterns and perceptions to identify how distortions can increase anxiety. This type of therapy involves correcting irrational thoughts and replacing them with more realistic outlooks. 
  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy: identifying values in life and then taking action to do things that match your goals and what is important to you. 
  • Art Therapy: a newer form of therapy that helps reduce anxiety through art expression and processing emotions. 
  • Psychoanalytic Therapy: examining past experiences, particularly in childhood, and how these events may have influenced your anxiety. 
  • Family Therapy: if one person in the family unit has anxiety and it is affecting everyone at home, this can help family members learn how to support their loved one. 

Will my therapist also prescribe me medication for anxiety?

Whether or not you take medication for anxiety is a very personal decision, and your anxiety therapist in Palatine, IL can discuss the pros and cons. Therapists, otherwise called psychologists, do not always prescribe medication. Most psychologists just focus on talk and behavioral therapy. Instead, they may forward you to a psychiatrist if you are interested in learning more about whether medication is right for you. 

Thanks to Lotus Wellness Center for their insight into counseling and anxiety treatment.