You may have come across someone suffering from a panic disorder or some other form of anxiety – it could be a friend, a family member, a workmate, and so on. The truth is, it is not easy to deal with these cases, because you most likely do not know what to do if an emergency sprung up regarding the disorder.
Increasing numbers of people are affected by anxiety disorders, and the situation is not getting better thanks to the increasing levels of stress we experience on a daily basis. However, you can explore different treatment and therapy methods that can assist your loved one to cope with the condition, and also encourage you that management methods are there and they are viable. However, it is first important to understand what anxiety disorders are about and why they develop.
Using therapy to treat and manage anxiety disorders
When you approach the subject of treating anxiety disorders, therapy is usually the best option for these cases. This is due to the reason that anxiety therapy is more effective at treating even the cause of the issue, compared to anxiety medication alone. Many patients instead turn to using drugs (more on this at therecoveryvillage.com), which makes the problem worse.
Therapy helps you pinpoint the source of your issues, it helps you learn the strategies you can use to relax, gives you new perspectives of situations that are not so frightening, and gives you better and more effective skills for solving problems and coping with negative events.
In addition, because anxiety disorders are very different from each other, therapy is more suitable at tailoring for your specific need and diagnosis. The time you spend at therapy will also depend on the severity and type of the disorder, although many therapy sessions are short term. The leading approaches are CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) as well as exposure therapy. The sessions can be in group sessions or individual sessions.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
This is the method of therapy that is used the most to deal with anxiety disorders. According to research findings, t proves to be effective in dealing with phobias, panic disorders, generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, as well as various other disorders.
This approach works to address distortions and patterns in the manner you use to view the world, as well as yourself. Because of this approach, it involves two components: behavior therapy that addresses the way you behave and respond to anxiety-causing situations, and cognitive therapy that addresses how you handle negative thoughts, as well as how thy contribute to the condition.
Its basic premise is reminding you that your thoughts will affect the way you feel about something, as opposed to external events. In simple terms, what this means is that your own perspectives on the situation will influence how you feel, not the situation itself. It therefore is all dependent on your beliefs, expectations, and attitude.
How CBT challenges your thoughts
This process involves three steps. First is identification of negative thoughts, for instance being scared of shaking people’s hands because you have an irrational fear of germs. It encourages you to identify the situation and say your exact feelings as the situation unfolds.
The second step is challenging these negative thoughts, of course with the help of the therapist. They teach you to analyses these thoughts, questioning the evidence you see, analyze unhelpful perceptions and beliefs and test out any negative predictions. Weighing pros and cons of a situation is included in this strategy, as well as determining the actual chances of the situation you are anxious about actually happening.
The third and most important step is replacing the negative thoughts with realistic ones. This helps you come up with statements that help you calm down, even when facing a stressful situation.
Anxiety is never a situation that s pleasing, and it is only human to avoid it as much as you can. For instance, you avoid going to high places because you fear heights, or you avoid taking public speaking opportunities because you have a fear of crowds. However, avoidance does not really solve the issue, and you never get the chance to overcome the issue.
As the name says, exposure therapy works by exposing you to the objects or situations that you fear. The thinking is, the more you are exposed to the subject of fear, the more you feel increasing levels of control over it, and your fear about it reduces.
The exposure can be done in two ways – you imagine the scary situation, to they help you confront it in real life. It can also be conducted together with cognitive behavioral therapy, or it might be used alone.
Facing your fears right away can be a traumatic thing, so this approach uses mildly threatening situations and builds them up until you face your biggest fear. It helps you to master skills to control your feelings of panic, and helps you gain control over the situation.
This involves three steps – learning relaxing techniques with the help of your therapist, such as deep breathing. Next is creating lists for step-by-step scary situations that build up towards the biggest fear and set goals for you to overcome; while the third is working through the steps using the first step of relaxation techniques (in case the anxiety becomes too much).
Other therapies for anxiety
This helps you to relieve anxiety and stress, with aerobic exercise holding the biggest benefit on most days.
This uses sensors that gauge certain physiological functions such as heartbeat, tension in the muscles and breathing, and you learn to recognize the signs of anxiety using these signs. This will also help you to quickly do relaxation techniques when you recognize you are experiencing anxiety attacks.
Anxiety unfortunately does not have quick fixes, and the only way you can learn to deal with it is being committed and patient as you work your way through it. Therapy is among these ways, as it teaches you to face your fear, instead of running \away from it – and that will help you learn to control your response.