Traditional Treatment of Anxiety Disorders

Reviewed Mar 2, 2017

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Summary

Anxiety is a treatable condition. A combination of medication and/or therapy will provide a road to recovery.
 

It is important to begin treatment for anxiety disorders as soon as possible once you realize help is needed. Help is needed if worry is affecting your ability to function. It can lead to depression and low self-esteem if symptoms stay untreated. People with untreated anxiety may struggle at work, at home, or with family and friends. It can feel most overwhelming at the start of treatment.

Getting help

Often people also feel a sense of relief once they talk to a licensed therapist and a doctor. You can begin your recovery by either calling your doctor or your health provider. Ask for referrals to mental health providers who are covered by your health plan.

Very often talk therapy can help you learn more about your specific worries. Part of the healing process is understanding whether there is reason to worry. Sometimes people worry and have no idea why. Once it is clear what is worrying you, you can take action. Your therapist may teach you skills to use when feeling anxious. You may also learn daily habits that can speed your recovery. For example, your therapist may ask about your caffeine intake, your use of alcohol and other drugs, or whether you have tried meditation. Even whether you work out or you eat healthy are factors. You and your therapist can make a plan for maintaining emotional balance. With treatment, no matter what the stress is, you can help overcome the challenges you face.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) aims to help you point out your anxious thoughts. It uses certain questions to challenge your thoughts. After that, you find a new, more balanced, way of thinking. In CBT, you become an active participant in addressing your worried thoughts.

For example, suppose you are on your way to an interview and begin to think:

  • “I’ll never survive this interview.”
  • “They won’t like me. I never do anything right.”

These are perfect thoughts to challenge. You have to ask yourself, “Is this really true?” Of course it is not really true. You will survive it. There are things you have done right. People may or may not like you, but you can’t predict the future. You may not get the job, but nothing is going to happen in the interview that you will not be able to get through.

What would then be a better way to think on your way to the meeting? You could choose a new, more accurate, thought:

  • “I may feel anxious about the interview, but I know I will get through it.”
  • “If I get overwhelmed I can pause and remember everyone has strengths and weaknesses, and I can just do my best and then accept the outcome.” 

You can make your own challenge questions and learn to know when you are using thinking errors that feed your anxiety, and get in the way of you doing your best. CBT is about changing thoughts to reflect realistic, balanced thinking.

How is an anxiety disorder treated?

The type of prescriber who treats people with anxiety is most often a primary care physician, a psychiatrist, a physician assistant or a nurse practitioner that works with a medical doctor. In terms of drugs used to treat it, there are anti-anxiety medicines that fall into a type called benzodiazepines. These drugs work quickly to help you relax and feel calmer. They can be quite helpful for people with panic attacks. They can also help when there is a sleep problem linked to your anxiety.

But, people can develop a tolerance to them. It is important to avoid alcohol while taking anti-anxiety pills. They are not a good choice for people with a history of addiction, as they are habit-forming. It’s important that you take these drugs exactly as prescribed, and keep your communication open with your doctor. Be sure to tell your doctor exactly how and when you are using these pills. Your doctor can offer alternatives, including non-drug strategies, if needed.

Your doctor may also advise that you take an antidepressant, as there are some that can also treat anxiety. There will be other factors involved in deciding whether a medicine is needed, and which one would be most helpful. Antidepressants can start to make a change in mood in a few weeks, whereas anti-anxiety drugs work right away to help calm you.

There are also drugs that were developed for other conditions that doctors sometimes give for anxiety. These are used for mood stabilization, allergies, and seizure disorders that are sometimes given to help with anxiety. If you have an addiction history, these can be better choices than habit-forming medicines.

Some people find that just knowing they have anti-anxiety pills to take if needed prevents panic or severe anxiety because there is a sense of reassurance knowing that it is on hand. In this way, pills can be helpful even when not taken.

Some of the symptoms that may mean medicine is needed:

  • Not able to function in areas of one’s own life, such as work, parenting, maintaining a home, or enjoying free time (because of worried thoughts)
  • Sleep problems
  • Feeling worried most of the time
  • Avoiding activities and people you used to enjoy
  • Feeling fearful or tearful a lot of the time
  • Major weight loss or weight gain

Anxiety is a treatable condition. There is no need to let anxiety take over your life. Take the first steps toward your healing.

By Rebecca Steil-Lambert, MSW, LICSW, MPH
Source: http://www.helpguide.org/mental/anxiety_self_help.htm; http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/anxiety-disorders/complete-index.shtml
Reviewed by Maria F. Rodowski-Stanco, MD, Associate Medical Director, Beacon Health Options

Summary

Anxiety is a treatable condition. A combination of medication and/or therapy will provide a road to recovery.
 

It is important to begin treatment for anxiety disorders as soon as possible once you realize help is needed. Help is needed if worry is affecting your ability to function. It can lead to depression and low self-esteem if symptoms stay untreated. People with untreated anxiety may struggle at work, at home, or with family and friends. It can feel most overwhelming at the start of treatment.

Getting help

Often people also feel a sense of relief once they talk to a licensed therapist and a doctor. You can begin your recovery by either calling your doctor or your health provider. Ask for referrals to mental health providers who are covered by your health plan.

Very often talk therapy can help you learn more about your specific worries. Part of the healing process is understanding whether there is reason to worry. Sometimes people worry and have no idea why. Once it is clear what is worrying you, you can take action. Your therapist may teach you skills to use when feeling anxious. You may also learn daily habits that can speed your recovery. For example, your therapist may ask about your caffeine intake, your use of alcohol and other drugs, or whether you have tried meditation. Even whether you work out or you eat healthy are factors. You and your therapist can make a plan for maintaining emotional balance. With treatment, no matter what the stress is, you can help overcome the challenges you face.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) aims to help you point out your anxious thoughts. It uses certain questions to challenge your thoughts. After that, you find a new, more balanced, way of thinking. In CBT, you become an active participant in addressing your worried thoughts.

For example, suppose you are on your way to an interview and begin to think:

  • “I’ll never survive this interview.”
  • “They won’t like me. I never do anything right.”

These are perfect thoughts to challenge. You have to ask yourself, “Is this really true?” Of course it is not really true. You will survive it. There are things you have done right. People may or may not like you, but you can’t predict the future. You may not get the job, but nothing is going to happen in the interview that you will not be able to get through.

What would then be a better way to think on your way to the meeting? You could choose a new, more accurate, thought:

  • “I may feel anxious about the interview, but I know I will get through it.”
  • “If I get overwhelmed I can pause and remember everyone has strengths and weaknesses, and I can just do my best and then accept the outcome.” 

You can make your own challenge questions and learn to know when you are using thinking errors that feed your anxiety, and get in the way of you doing your best. CBT is about changing thoughts to reflect realistic, balanced thinking.

How is an anxiety disorder treated?

The type of prescriber who treats people with anxiety is most often a primary care physician, a psychiatrist, a physician assistant or a nurse practitioner that works with a medical doctor. In terms of drugs used to treat it, there are anti-anxiety medicines that fall into a type called benzodiazepines. These drugs work quickly to help you relax and feel calmer. They can be quite helpful for people with panic attacks. They can also help when there is a sleep problem linked to your anxiety.

But, people can develop a tolerance to them. It is important to avoid alcohol while taking anti-anxiety pills. They are not a good choice for people with a history of addiction, as they are habit-forming. It’s important that you take these drugs exactly as prescribed, and keep your communication open with your doctor. Be sure to tell your doctor exactly how and when you are using these pills. Your doctor can offer alternatives, including non-drug strategies, if needed.

Your doctor may also advise that you take an antidepressant, as there are some that can also treat anxiety. There will be other factors involved in deciding whether a medicine is needed, and which one would be most helpful. Antidepressants can start to make a change in mood in a few weeks, whereas anti-anxiety drugs work right away to help calm you.

There are also drugs that were developed for other conditions that doctors sometimes give for anxiety. These are used for mood stabilization, allergies, and seizure disorders that are sometimes given to help with anxiety. If you have an addiction history, these can be better choices than habit-forming medicines.

Some people find that just knowing they have anti-anxiety pills to take if needed prevents panic or severe anxiety because there is a sense of reassurance knowing that it is on hand. In this way, pills can be helpful even when not taken.

Some of the symptoms that may mean medicine is needed:

  • Not able to function in areas of one’s own life, such as work, parenting, maintaining a home, or enjoying free time (because of worried thoughts)
  • Sleep problems
  • Feeling worried most of the time
  • Avoiding activities and people you used to enjoy
  • Feeling fearful or tearful a lot of the time
  • Major weight loss or weight gain

Anxiety is a treatable condition. There is no need to let anxiety take over your life. Take the first steps toward your healing.

By Rebecca Steil-Lambert, MSW, LICSW, MPH
Source: http://www.helpguide.org/mental/anxiety_self_help.htm; http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/anxiety-disorders/complete-index.shtml
Reviewed by Maria F. Rodowski-Stanco, MD, Associate Medical Director, Beacon Health Options

Summary

Anxiety is a treatable condition. A combination of medication and/or therapy will provide a road to recovery.
 

It is important to begin treatment for anxiety disorders as soon as possible once you realize help is needed. Help is needed if worry is affecting your ability to function. It can lead to depression and low self-esteem if symptoms stay untreated. People with untreated anxiety may struggle at work, at home, or with family and friends. It can feel most overwhelming at the start of treatment.

Getting help

Often people also feel a sense of relief once they talk to a licensed therapist and a doctor. You can begin your recovery by either calling your doctor or your health provider. Ask for referrals to mental health providers who are covered by your health plan.

Very often talk therapy can help you learn more about your specific worries. Part of the healing process is understanding whether there is reason to worry. Sometimes people worry and have no idea why. Once it is clear what is worrying you, you can take action. Your therapist may teach you skills to use when feeling anxious. You may also learn daily habits that can speed your recovery. For example, your therapist may ask about your caffeine intake, your use of alcohol and other drugs, or whether you have tried meditation. Even whether you work out or you eat healthy are factors. You and your therapist can make a plan for maintaining emotional balance. With treatment, no matter what the stress is, you can help overcome the challenges you face.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) aims to help you point out your anxious thoughts. It uses certain questions to challenge your thoughts. After that, you find a new, more balanced, way of thinking. In CBT, you become an active participant in addressing your worried thoughts.

For example, suppose you are on your way to an interview and begin to think:

  • “I’ll never survive this interview.”
  • “They won’t like me. I never do anything right.”

These are perfect thoughts to challenge. You have to ask yourself, “Is this really true?” Of course it is not really true. You will survive it. There are things you have done right. People may or may not like you, but you can’t predict the future. You may not get the job, but nothing is going to happen in the interview that you will not be able to get through.

What would then be a better way to think on your way to the meeting? You could choose a new, more accurate, thought:

  • “I may feel anxious about the interview, but I know I will get through it.”
  • “If I get overwhelmed I can pause and remember everyone has strengths and weaknesses, and I can just do my best and then accept the outcome.” 

You can make your own challenge questions and learn to know when you are using thinking errors that feed your anxiety, and get in the way of you doing your best. CBT is about changing thoughts to reflect realistic, balanced thinking.

How is an anxiety disorder treated?

The type of prescriber who treats people with anxiety is most often a primary care physician, a psychiatrist, a physician assistant or a nurse practitioner that works with a medical doctor. In terms of drugs used to treat it, there are anti-anxiety medicines that fall into a type called benzodiazepines. These drugs work quickly to help you relax and feel calmer. They can be quite helpful for people with panic attacks. They can also help when there is a sleep problem linked to your anxiety.

But, people can develop a tolerance to them. It is important to avoid alcohol while taking anti-anxiety pills. They are not a good choice for people with a history of addiction, as they are habit-forming. It’s important that you take these drugs exactly as prescribed, and keep your communication open with your doctor. Be sure to tell your doctor exactly how and when you are using these pills. Your doctor can offer alternatives, including non-drug strategies, if needed.

Your doctor may also advise that you take an antidepressant, as there are some that can also treat anxiety. There will be other factors involved in deciding whether a medicine is needed, and which one would be most helpful. Antidepressants can start to make a change in mood in a few weeks, whereas anti-anxiety drugs work right away to help calm you.

There are also drugs that were developed for other conditions that doctors sometimes give for anxiety. These are used for mood stabilization, allergies, and seizure disorders that are sometimes given to help with anxiety. If you have an addiction history, these can be better choices than habit-forming medicines.

Some people find that just knowing they have anti-anxiety pills to take if needed prevents panic or severe anxiety because there is a sense of reassurance knowing that it is on hand. In this way, pills can be helpful even when not taken.

Some of the symptoms that may mean medicine is needed:

  • Not able to function in areas of one’s own life, such as work, parenting, maintaining a home, or enjoying free time (because of worried thoughts)
  • Sleep problems
  • Feeling worried most of the time
  • Avoiding activities and people you used to enjoy
  • Feeling fearful or tearful a lot of the time
  • Major weight loss or weight gain

Anxiety is a treatable condition. There is no need to let anxiety take over your life. Take the first steps toward your healing.

By Rebecca Steil-Lambert, MSW, LICSW, MPH
Source: http://www.helpguide.org/mental/anxiety_self_help.htm; http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/anxiety-disorders/complete-index.shtml
Reviewed by Maria F. Rodowski-Stanco, MD, Associate Medical Director, Beacon Health Options

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