Hallie Condit, MSW, LICSW
Information about Treatment for Symptoms of Anxiety Disorders
You will learn ways of changing the thoughts and behaviors that lead to anxiety. This will help you feel more in control of your feelings and your life.
We will work together to identify and change the thoughts and behaviors that trigger anxiety and panic. You will be taught how to shift these thoughts to more constructive thoughts. Weekly homework assignments will be given to practice strategies learned in our sessions.
With practice you will find that your anxiety, fear, and panic will start to fade. This will inspire you to defeat these problems, and take charge of your life. With new tools at your disposal, you'll be able to deal with future signs of returning anxiety, fear, and panic and thereby prevent setbacks.
People with generalized anxiety have recurring fears and worries. These distressing thoughts can be about health, finances, or other problems in their lives. They often have a sense that something bad will happen. Sometimes the reasons for the feelings of anxiety can be hard to identify. The fears and worries can be intense, and often keep individuals from concentrating on daily tasks.
Panic disorder involves feelings of terror and dread. People who experience panic attacks often experience physical symptoms such as shortness of breath, palpitations, sweating, and shaking. Individuals with a panic disorder often develop fears about when and where their next panic attack will occur. As a result, they often restrict their activities.
Some individuals develop phobias, or intense fears, about certain objects or situations. Phobias may involve fears about encountering certain insects, animals, or flying in airplanes. Social phobias involve fears of social settings or crowds of people.
Why is it important to seek treatment for these symptoms?
Some people who experience panic attacks avoid putting themselves in a situations that may trigger a panic attack. These types of behaviors can create problems by making it difficult to perform a job, carry out family obligations, or live a normal life.
Many people who suffer from an untreated anxiety disorder are prone to other disorders such as depression. They may turn to alcohol or other drugs to try to cope. It can affect relationships with family members, friends and coworkers. Their job performance may falter.
Anxiety can usually be treated successfully by a therapist trained in cognitive- behavioral therapy. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, research has demonstrated that both 'behavioral therapy' and 'cognitive therapy' can be highly effective in treating anxiety.
Behavioral therapy involves using techniques to reduce or stop the undesired behavior associated with anxiety. For example, one approach involves training clients in relaxation and deep breathing techniques to counteract the agitation and hyperventilation (rapid, shallow breathing) that often accompanies anxiety.
Through cognitive therapy, clients learn to understand how their thoughts contribute to the symptoms of anxiety. They learn how to change those thought patterns to reduce the likelihood of occurrence and the intensity of reaction. The client’s increased mental awareness is often combined with behavioral techniques to help the individual gradually confront and tolerate fearful situations in a controlled, safe environment.
About Treatment for Anxiety
It is very important to understand that treatments for anxiety do not work instantly. The client should be comfortable from the outset with the general treatment being proposed, and with the therapist with whom he or she is working. The client’s cooperation is crucial, and there must be a strong sense that the client and therapist are collaborating as a team to remedy the anxiety disorder.
Treatment needs to be tailored to the needs of the client and to the type of anxiety from which the individual suffers. A therapist and client should work together to assess whether a treatment plan seems to be on track. Adjustments to the plan sometimes are necessary, since clients can respond differently to treatment.
There is no question that the various kinds of anxiety can impair a person's functioning in work, family and social environments. But for most individuals who seek appropriate professional help, the likelihood of recovery is very good. By working with a qualified and experienced therapist, people who suffer from anxiety disorders can regain control of their feelings and thoughts -- and their lives.
Symptoms of anxiety can cause distress and disrupt the lives of people experiencing them. The frequency and intensity of these symptoms can be debilitating. With cognitive- behavioral therapy, people with anxiety can lead normal lives.
Source: American Psychological Association