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How Therapy Helps with Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety is generally described as a persistent state of worry. If avoided, worrisome, repetitive thoughts or panic attacks can impair your ability to work, accomplish goals, and function in social situations.

You do not have to live with anxiety and anxiety disorders as therapy can effectively help you manage and treat them. Therapists are trained individuals who can diagnose anxiety and teach patients effective ways to cope with it. 

What does Anxiety Disorder Feel Like?

Imagine you are worried about an approaching deadline. As time passes, your thoughts are becoming increasingly negative. The day approaches, and you have a panic attack, but you still finish your work by the deadline.

Even after meeting the deadline, you still feel anxious and worried. You are still nervous and uneasy, though you cannot quite put your finger on it. This is what anxiety feels like. Unlike stress, anxiety doesn’t have clear, identifiable triggers, and fulfilling a stressful task doesn’t soothe anxiety. 

When anxious, one feels relentless anger and irritability, with feelings of impending doom or danger. Brain fog with difficulty in concentrating and fatigue are also commonly associated with anxiety.

Physical Symptoms of Anxiety Disorder

Anxiety can have a range of physical symptoms. If you experience one or more of these symptoms, along with the psychological symptoms pointed above, you need professional help.

  • Muscle tension
  • Increased heart rate
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Headache
  • Increased heart rate and sweating
  • Hyperventilation

Therapies used in the Treatment of Anxiety

Therapists make you aware of your negative thoughts and patterns of behavior, help confront your emotions and then teach you effective skills to overcome negative thoughts.

Psychotherapy doesn’t only treat physical symptoms of anxiety, it gets to the root of the problem by helping patients understand and recover from it. There are several types of anxiety disorders and your doctor will follow a treatment plan that suits you the most.

Awareness and Recognition of Negative Thought Patterns

Your therapist will utilize several therapies, such as Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical-Behavior Therapy (DBT), to help you identify the major triggers and your emotional and behavioral responses to them, eventually enabling you to confront and manage your anxiety.

Both CBT and DBT are based on the concept that external factors and situations do not determine our response to them but rather, it is the internal factors and your subjective perception of the situation that affects how we feel or behave.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

This is the most commonly used therapy for a variety of anxiety disorders. Through several sessions of CBT, your therapist will try to identify how your thought process, behavior, and responses to a situation contribute to anxiety.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)

This is also based on CBT but is a step ahead. After recognizing negative and uncomfortable thoughts and behavior, people are asked to accept them to come to terms with them. This therapy works for a range of disorders and patients learn key skills that help them overcome anxiety. It helps patients regulate their emotional and cognitive abilities and control them.

Exposure to Triggers or Fearful Situations

When you are anxious, you tend to avoid situations that make you uncomfortable. This doesn’t only meddle with your daily life, but repeated avoidance also results in aggravating anxiety. 

After making you aware of your fears, therapists give you repeated exposure to uncomfortable situations, making you accustomed to fear. This is called exposure therapy. Group sessions are led by trained therapists, where people are exposed to others with similar situations.

Exposure Therapy

This involves gradual exposure to triggers that can make one accustomed to fears, called systemic desensitization. Therapists either ask people with anxiety to imagine the triggers or they might be asked to confront these worrisome thoughts or situations in real life. It can be used alone or with CBT for various anxiety disorders.

Group Therapy

If patients are dealing with a traumatic past or an extremely stressful situation, the therapist might recommend group therapy. People get to know, meet, and listen to more people like them and feel less alone. Group setups allow people to feel less disengaged and more empowered.

With the help of these therapies, when unconscious patterns of negative behavior are brought to light, people can overcome negative thought patterns. Therapists help them challenge these problematic narratives and replace them with an uplifting and healthier belief system.

We want you to know…

Making positive, healthy, and productive choices is the most important step in managing anxiety. You can initiate self-therapy by integrating healthy activities and with the help of an uplifting social life.  

If you feel that anxiety is getting in the way of your daily activities, it is best to reach out for professional help. At The Hardy Clinic, our expert therapists will help you manage anxiety and learn skills that will help you reduce negative thoughts or behaviors.