Chronic anxiety can be extremely hard to live with. The “chronic” in the last sentence is crucial. It is expected that every human will be anxious at some point. That is just an unfortunate part of life. The problems start when that occasional anxiety becomes a common occurrence in your life.
Chronic anxiety, or anxiety disorders, take many forms. But, they are all increasingly common in the United States. A 2017 report from the National Institute of Mental Health discussed the fact that 19% of adults and 31% of adolescents experience anxiety issues every year. If you have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, you are not alone. Ask someone for help and consider beginning work with a certified therapist. They may want to try one or more of the therapies described in the rest of this article. You can even find help online, here is a great option to help you find an online service.
What is Anxiety?
Before we discuss the different therapies for anxiety, it is important to define the disorder. Anxiety itself is defined as “an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts, and physical changes like increase blood pressure.” Someone has an anxiety disorder instead of just normal anxiety when meeting certain criteria, like
- Worrying and feeling anxious most days in the last six months or more.
- Your anxiety interferes with your day-to-day life.
- Exhibiting at least three of these six symptoms: fatigue, irritability, sleep problems, concentration issues, restlessness, and muscle tension.
- The symptoms are not occurring because of a previously-diagnosed mental disorder or known medication or medical condition.
Six main disorders comprise the spectrum of anxiety disorders. These are
- Panic disorder
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Generalized anxiety disorder
- Social anxiety disorder (SAD)
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
The symptoms vary in type and severity across the anxiety disorders. Learn about the signs and symptoms of each type of anxiety disorder here. You may also be diagnosed with multiple of the disorders named above.
Five of the Best Therapies for Anxiety
Now that you have had the briefest of introductions to anxiety disorders, let’s talk about treatment. Being diagnosed with an anxiety disorder can be scary and the number of therapy options very intimidating. Don’t let these feelings stop you from getting help, though. Your counselors at can help you work through the symptoms with types of therapies for anxiety all from the comfort of your own home.
Consider asking your counselor about the following treatments—our choices for the top anxiety therapies around.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
CBT, which works great as schizophrenia therapy is also successful in many other disorders. Cognitive behavioral therapy works by allowing the therapist to discover how your thoughts and/or feelings affect your behavior. CBT is a useful therapy for many disorders. These include
- Anxiety disorders
- Bipolar disorder
- Eating disorders
- Trauma-related disorders
Essentially, when you participate in CBT, the therapist will help you identify negative and damaging thought patterns. They will then give you strategies for replacing your old thought patterns with constructive ones. This type of therapy can help people change their thought patterns, which help solve the underlying issues of the anxiety disorder.
Exposure therapy is a subset of CBT. It can be used on its own or accompanied by Cognitive therapy for someone with anxiety issues. With exposure therapy, you will be working with the therapist to identify and confront your fears and anxiety triggers. The therapist does this in three steps: relax, list, and expose. When you are exposed to your fears and become accustomed to them, they are easier to ignore or leave behind.
This type of therapy can help people whose fear is stopping them from living a fulfilled life. Some of the people who could benefit from exposure therapy include those with
- A variety of phobias.
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, or DBT, was once only a therapy technique for borderline personality disorder. It is now used for several conditions, including anxiety disorders.
In DBT, the therapist will help you accept and change your behaviors. These two seemingly opposite goals provide the crux of this therapy, and its name (dialectical means opposite). Just because acceptance and change seem dialectical, they are not. The therapist will work with you to create a balance between the two. There are four main skills taught in DBT: mindfulness, distress tolerance, interpersonal effectiveness, and emotion regulation.
Interpersonal therapy is a specialized type of therapy technique. It was originally developed for people with extreme depression. Because this type of therapy is all about working on your relationships and communication with others, it is ideal for people with SAD.
In interpersonal therapy, you will identify any interpersonal issues you currently have and work to solve them. These may include disagreements or conflicts with family and friends, problems at your job or in your career, or unresolved grief. The interpersonal therapy counselor will then provide you strategies for better expressing your emotions and increasing your communication with other people.
The final type of therapy for anxiety disorders that we want to highlight today is psychodynamic therapy. Psychodynamic therapy is similar to psychoanalysis. While it no longer involves a couch for the patient to lie on, the basic procedure is similar.
In psychodynamic therapy, you sit with a therapist and talk freely. Instead of following a schedule or routine, the therapist will allow you to talk. They will make notes about patterns in your emotions or thoughts and ask probing questions to further bring these patterns to light. Psychoanalysis, popularized by Freud, is a more intense form of this type of therapy.
You don’t have to have an anxiety disorder to attend psychodynamic therapy. However, this type of therapy is helpful for those with depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder.
You don’t have to live with the symptoms of anxiety forever. Reach out to qualified mental health professionals, like the counselors at BetterHelp, to learn more about possible therapies for your anxiety problems. Don’t suffer alone and in silence. Get help for your anxiety disorder today! Lastly check out this post about how animals can help you reduce your anxiety symptoms.