Many people struggle with anxiety disorders, but there are many different variations of anxiety. The mental health disorder doesn’t always manifest in the same way for everyone. Generalized anxiety disorder is characterized by excessive worry and extreme anxiety that often seems unwarranted. It can get in the way of your everyday life, making it difficult to think, relax and function. Fortunately, most people can find relief with the right type of anxiety disorder treatment.
Types of Anxiety Disorders
The first step to anxiety disorder treatment is receiving a diagnosis. A doctor can conduct a physical to determine whether your symptoms are related to a physical condition. If they rule out a medical issue, they can use psychological questionnaires to reach a diagnosis. They may also ask you about your physical and mental health history and take blood or urine samples.
Although everyone feels anxious from time to time, anxiety disorders can be difficult to manage. They may cause so much distress that you can’t take care of your daily obligations. The constant fear and worry can be debilitating.
Some types of anxiety disorders include:
• Panic disorder
• Generalized anxiety disorders
• Social anxiety disorders
• Obsessive-compulsive disorder
Some of the symptoms that characterize anxiety disorders are:
• Panic, dread and worry
• Trouble sleeping
• Shortness of breath
• Muscle tension
• Digestive distress
• Dry mouth
• Twitching or shakiness
• Feeling disconnected from your surroundings
• Reduced appetite
• Emotional eating
Experts aren’t sure what causes anxiety disorders. Some people may be more influenced by their brain chemicals than others. External influences can exacerbate some types of anxiety. For many patients, anxiety occurs along with other mental health issues, such as substance abuse disorders or depression. It’s vital to obtain a correct diagnosis to determine a proper treatment plan.
Anxiety disorders can disrupt your entire life. Living with this condition can be exhausting. We understand the challenges that come with battling anxiety as well as other mental health conditions, and we provide several treatment options.
Anxiety Disorder Treatment options
Psychotherapy is often the first course of action for anxiety disorders. While working with a therapist, you’ll become more educated about the disorder and learn more about what triggers your anxiety.
Once you know what causes your worry or panic, you can begin to work toward easing it. In some cases, there is no obvious cause. However, therapy can help you recognize the emotions that come up and process them so that you can manage them without letting them take over you.
Psychotherapy involves more than just talking about your feelings. A good therapist will help you reframe your reaction to intense, negative emotions. You’ll learn how to process emotions instead of avoiding them or letting them get the best of you.
One of the most common types of psychotherapy that’s used for treating anxiety disorders is cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT. CBT has been extensively studied for its beneficial effects on people with anxiety disorders.
CBT helps patients identify the elements that contribute to their anxiety. It also provides tools for reframing limiting or negative thinking patterns to rewire the brain into responding to stressful events differently.
Psychotherapy requires some commitment, though. You need to trust and click with your therapist. After a few weeks or months of this type of therapy, many people with anxiety disorders notice improvement in their symptoms and coping skills.
The best psychotherapy provides individualized treatment for each patient. Therapy is highly personalized and caters to your specific diagnosis and needs.
Medication for Anxiety Disorders
Medication is often effective for anxiety disorder treatment in conjunction with therapy. Some of the most common medications that are used for this purpose include:
• Antidepressants – Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, can reduce anxiety and depression symptoms in some people. Many experts recommend taking these medications for at least 6 to 12 months before gradually tapering off to reduce the risk of the anxiety returning.
• Selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors – SNRIs work similarly to SSRIs for treating anxiety disorders.
• Buspirone – This drug is often given to patients who don’t find relief from SSRIs.
• Benzodiazepines – These medications work quickly to calm anxiety, but they can lead to dependence. They’re sedatives that reduce acute anxiety and can calm a panic attack, but they’re not an ideal long-term solution for generalized anxiety disorder.
Some other medications are available for anxiety. However, many have not been as extensively studied as the ones mentioned above. Still, if you are not responding to other types of treatments, your psychiatrist might prescribe off-label medications that have been shown to help some people with anxiety disorders.
Natural and Holistic Options for Anxiety Disorder Treatment
Managing anxiety is often a long-term process. Your feelings of apprehension may come and go throughout your life. Although it would be ideal to assume that your anxiety will never return, you’re human. You will have strong emotions from time to time.
The treatments that we’ve described help you manage those emotions when they arise so that you can move through them without becoming paralyzed or overwhelmed. Natural and holistic ways to treat anxiety disorders can also help you manage your mental health over the course of your life.
Exercise can balance the brain chemicals that contribute to anxiety. Moving your body regularly can stave off anxiety and other mental health issues. You don’t have to be an athlete. Even a 10-minute walk can be a powerful way to improve your mental health.
That’s one reason that we use wilderness and adventure therapy at New Method Wellness. We help you get moving at your own pace and with an enjoyable goal in mind. You’ll learn new skills, overcome challenges and get the exercise that you need to boost your physical and emotional health.
Being outdoors also helps relieve anxiety. Even having a live plant in your living space can reduce stress, lower blood pressure and ease anxiety. Taking your treatment to the great outdoors combines evidence-based treatment with nature therapy to further enhance your recovery.
Learning to relax is also vital for managing anxiety. Yoga, meditation and art therapy are indispensable for teaching you how to relax, move intense emotions through your body and prevent negative thoughts from taking over your mind. Through these types of approaches, you’ll become better at observing your thoughts and feelings without reacting in harmful, destructive ways.
Numerous studies and anecdotal responses have shown that holistic and natural treatments for anxiety disorders are effective. They help round out the treatment process and engage every aspect of your being so that you can rebuild your brain circuitry, balance your brain chemistry, reduce stress, improve self-esteem, increase self-efficiency and lead a comfortable life with strong mental health and less anxiety.