Anxiety disorders affect 40 million adults in the United States, making them the most common type of mental illness in the country. However, anxiety disorders are very treatable and therapy for anxiety is one successful form of anxiety treatment for many people. There are many different forms of anxiety and there are also different forms of therapy for anxiety. Which anxiety treatment is used will depend on the anxiety symptoms present in the patient.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT is the most popular form of therapy for anxiety. It is effective when treating many types of anxiety disorders, such as phobias, panic disorders, generalized anxiety disorder, and social anxiety disorder. The goal behind CBT as a therapy for anxiety is to identify patterns of thinking and behavior that contribute to anxiety, understand them, and then change them. This anxiety treatment directly involves the patient and the skills learned are useful in all facets of life. CBT therapy for anxiety has the patient read about anxiety, keep records, and do homework that will ensure they practice the anxiety treatment methods they have learned.
Exposure therapy is a form of CBT. This form of therapy for anxiety acts as a method for lessening responses of anxiety and fear and is based on the premise that we avoid whatever triggers anxiety in us. In the Exposure therapy anxiety treatment, rather than avoiding the anxiety trigger, the patient is exposed to the situation or thing that causes the anxiety. The exposure this therapy for anxiety provides is orchestrated repeatedly and over time the patient will feel more control over the situation, decreasing the amount of anxiety felt.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
Known as ACT, this form of therapy for anxiety has the patient learn and use techniques for acceptance and mindfulness, which is simply living in the moment. This is paired with commitment and a change in behavior that will help the patient deal with those unwanted feelings and thoughts.
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
Known as DBT, this form of therapy for anxiety combines CBT techniques with Eastern meditation to help the patient find acceptance and the ability to change. This is a therapy for anxiety that includes both individual and group therapy, helping patients learn mindfulness and the ability to manage their distress, regulate their emotions, and have better interpersonal relationships.
Interpersonal Therapy (IPT)
IPT is a short-term therapy for anxiety that helps patients work through interpersonal issues that might be the cause of their anxiety or depression. This therapy is conducted in 12-16 weekly sessions, lasting an hour each.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
Eye movement has been shown to diminish the intensity of distressing thoughts. On this basis, EMDR is a form of therapy for anxiety that affects how the brain processes the information it receives, which will allow the patient to find the information that causes their anxiety less disturbing.
It is important to see a health care professional if you think you might have an anxiety disorder. Together you will find a therapy for anxiety that is right for you.