Therapy for Anxiety Disorders

Therapy for Anxiety Disorders

Therapy for Anxiety Disorders       

Anxiety is a general term for several disorders that cause nervousness, fear, apprehension, and worrying. Anxiety can affect how we act and can manifest in real, physical symptoms. Anxiety becomes a problem when it affects our everyday life. Common anxiety disorders include phobias, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress syndrome, and generalized anxiety disorder. There are a lot of different factors that can contribute to an anxiety disorder. For this reason, anxiety disorders are often difficult to diagnose and treat.

Therapy for Anxiety Disorders: Benefits

When it comes to treating anxiety disorders, therapy for anxiety disorders is usually the most effective option. Unlike medication, therapy for anxiety disorders treats more than just the symptoms of the anxiety. Rather, it tries to uncover the underlying causes of worries and fears that cause anxiety. It can also help you learn to relax, to look at situations in new ways, and develop better coping and problem-solving skills.

Anxiety disorders differ considerably so therapy for anxiety disorders is often tailored to your specific symptoms and concerns. For example, if you have post-traumatic stress disorder, your therapy will differ from someone who is getting help for phobias.

Many types of therapy for anxiety disorders are short term, and many people improve within eight to ten therapy sessions. The leading approaches are cognitive behavioral therapy and exposure therapy.

Therapy for Anxiety Disorders: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy it the most commonly used therapy for anxiety disorders. It has been shown to be effective in treating panic disorder, phobias, social anxiety disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder.

The cognitive part of this type of therapy for anxiety disorders examines how negative thoughts contribute to anxiety. The behavioral portion examines how you behave and react in situations that trigger anxiety.

The basic theory of this type of therapy for anxiety disorders is that our thoughts, not external events, determine the way that we feel and whether or not a situation causes anxiety.

Therapy for Anxiety Disorders: Exposure Therapy

Exposure therapy is a commonly used therapy for anxiety disorders. It is common for people to avoid situations that cause them anxiety-feelings of anxiety aren’t pleasant. If you have a fear of confined spaces, for example, you might avoid elevators at all costs, even if it means climbing nine flights of stairs. If you are afraid of speaking in public, you may skip a friend’s wedding so you don’t have to give a toast. Aside from inconveniencing yourself and other people, avoiding things that cause you anxiety means that you are never able to overcome them. In fact, avoiding situations that cause you anxiety may make your fears even worse.

Exposure therapy for anxiety disorders exposes you to the situations or objects you fear. The idea is that if you are repeatedly exposed to things that cause you anxiety, you will eventually get over your fear. Exposure therapy for anxiety disorders involves either you confronting the situations in real life or your therapist directing you to imagine the scary situation.

http://www.helpguide.org/mental/anxiety_therapy.htm

Fear and Anxiety

Fear and Anxiety

By Jenny Hunt

March 28, 2012

Anxiety is something that affects everyone from time to time. It becomes a problem when it begins to occur frequently. The difference between fear and anxiety is that fear is a response to an immediately present stimulus and anxiety as a worry or rumination about something that has yet to occur, or may never occur. For example, if you are walking through the woods and you see a venomous snake, you will generally feel fear: a natural reaction to a present threat. The next day, you are walking in the woods again and you begin to worry that you will see another venomous snake. This feeling is anxiety. It is the expectation of a threat that may or may not come to fruition.

Fear and anxiety are not universal reactions in the animal kingdom. Every animal is born with the ability to detect and respond to certain kinds of danger, and to learn about things associated with danger. Fear is a necessary reaction for survival of a species. However, not all animals can feel anxiety. Anxiety depends on the ability to anticipate, which not all animals have. Humans are particularly skilled at projecting into the future, which is why anxiety is so common. Human anxiety is greatly enhanced by our ability to imagine the future.

 

Fear and anxiety can also become harmful. Anxiety is a general term for several disorders that cause nervousness, fear, apprehension, and worrying. Anxiety can affect how we behave and can manifest in real, physical symptoms. Most medical experts agree that when fear and anxiety begin to interfere with daily life, an anxiety disorder is present.  Common anxiety disorders include phobias, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress syndrome, and generalized anxiety disorder. The complicated factors contributing to pathological fear and anxiety make these conditions challenging to diagnose and treat.

When we are experiencing anxiety, our body reacts to it like there is a present threat. Thus, fear and anxiety have similar physical manifestations. We have shortness of breath; our heart begins to pound; and our muscles tense up. Our body is reacting to the sharp increase of adrenaline that occurs when we experience fear and anxiety. Pathological fear and anxiety result from alterations of the brain systems that normally control fear and anxiety. Our bodies start to manifest the standard fear and anxiety reactions even when there is no present or potential threat, and it begins to interfere with us leading a normal life.

There are many treatments available for treating pathological fear and anxiety, but the most successful ones involve changing the reaction to fear. Medications can be used to calm the physical manifestation of fear and anxiety in everyday life. Another treatment of pathological fear and anxiety is known as exposure therapy. In this type of therapy, the individual is exposed to various stimuli that normally cause fear and anxiety. This is done in a safe environment under the care of a medical professional. Over several sessions, the fear elicited by the stimulus weakens, and the patient can live fear free, or at least with less fear and anxiety.