Anxiety disorder treatment

It is completely natural to feel worried or tense when you are faced with a stressful situation or put under pressure. Your body has an automatic alarm that goes off whenever you feel threatened, and anxiety is a completely natural response to danger. Anxiety, although unpleasant, doesn’t have to always be a bad thing. It can actually motivate you, spur you on and keep you focused and alert. However once anxiety becomes a constant state of mind and literally overwhelms you, it can no longer be considered normal and you are likely to be suffering from anxiety disorder.

There are certain signs and symptoms that just won’t go away and this is likely to be because you are suffering from anxiety disorder:

  • If anxiety interferes with your family life, work or school
  • Do you constantly feel tense and worried?
  • If you don’t do things in a certain way, are you plagued by thoughts that something bad is going to happen?
  • Are you constantly avoiding certain everyday situations because you know they are going to make you feel anxious?
  • Do you believe that danger is lurking around every corner?

There are also certain emotional and physical symptoms of anxiety that you should look out for and these include:-

Feelings of apprehension, feeling tense and jumpy, irritability, restlessness, stomach upset or dizziness, sweating, diarrhoea, headaches, fatigue, shortness of breath and anxiety.

If you are suffering from anxiety disorder, you may be likely to experience an anxiety (or panic) attack. They will typically be a trigger for your anxiety, plus an attack can often come straight out the blue. An anxiety attack very rarely lasts for more than half an hour, and will typically peak within the first 10 minutes. However, your feelings of anxiety can be so overwhelming and severe that you may feel as though you are about to die or totally lose control. The symptoms of an anxiety attack will include: a feeling of losing control or going crazy, feeling as though you’re about to pass out, heart palpitations and chest pain, hot flashes or chills, nausea or stomach cramps, hyperventilation and trouble breathing or a choking sensation.

Anxiety disorders usually respond very well to treatment, and often they can be treated within a relatively short period of time. Which specific type of treatment you should take will very much depend on the type of anxiety disorder you are suffering from and how severe it is. Usually anxiety is either treated with medication, behavioral therapy or a combination of both.

There are two forms of behavioral therapy for anxiety disorders and they are cognitive behavioral therapy and exposure therapy. You can expect somewhere between 5 to 20 weekly sessions of behavioral therapy, which should help you focus on your behavior and any underlying psychological issues.

  • Cognitive behavior therapy will mainly focus on your thoughts as well as your behaviors. The main focus of this treatment is to help you identify your negative thinking patterns. This can then help you to focus and challenge the irrational beliefs that are potentially fueling your anxiety.
  • Exposure therapy is a way to make you confront your fears. This will always be done in a safe and controlled environment. By exposing you to the object or situation that you fear, either in your imagination or in reality, this should enable you to gain some form of control. Once you have faced your fears a number of times without coming to any harm, your anxiety should gradually dwindle away.

Certain medications such as antidepressants and benzodiazepines are usually used to treat anxiety disorders. However you will find that medication is most effective when it is combined with behavioral therapy. There is a far greater chance of relapse in patients who take medication alone. If your anxiety disorder takes the form of phobias or a social anxiety disorder, you may only need to take medication at certain times. This is especially true if you anxiety manifests itself in situations such as speaking in front of a large crowd or boarding an aeroplane. However if you are suffering from a generalized anxiety disorder or obsessive-compulsive disorder, you will probably require a longer period of treatment via medication.

There are certain new anxiety treatments that should complement therapy and medication. You may even find that these treatments will provide sufficient relief in their own right:

  • Exercise is known as a natural form of anxiety relief. If you can perform as little as 30 minutes of exercise, 3 to 5 times a week, this can provide some significant relief from anxiety.
  • Relaxation techniques such as meditation, muscle relaxation, visualization and controlled breathing can help to reduce the feelings of anxiety. This should also make you feel far more relaxed and improve your overall emotional well-being.
  • Hypnosis often used along with cognitive behavioral therapy to treat anxiety. Your hypnotherapist will typically use certain therapeutic techniques to help you face your fears. This can actually help you to look at the things you feared in a completely new light.
Last updated on Mar 9th, 2012 and filed under Mental Health. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed