There are many types of treatment that a therapist may use for treating Anxiety. What works for one person may not work for another. It is important to understand why types of treatment are out there to see what works for you. Some of the methods listed may require the help of a therapist, others you can do yourself.
Before we dive into the different types of therapy for Anxiety it is a good idea to look at the types of Anxiety disorders and what their symptoms are. The different types of Anxiety disorders are: Social Anxiety, Panic Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. The symptoms may differ depending on what type of Anxiety disorder a person has, however, all may have certain characteristics in common.
Social Anxiety involves feeling self-conscious in social situations; often worrying about being judged by others.
People with Panic Disorder have feelings of terror that strike suddenly. Other symptoms of a panic attack may include chest pain, sweating, unusually strong heartbeats and a feeling of choking.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder is defined as someone having excessive worry or unrealistic worry even if there is nothing to warrant it.
Other symptoms may include:
- Problems sleeping
- Cold or sweaty hands or feet
- Dry Mouth
- Numbness and Tingling in hands and feet
To help with your anxiety therapists offer many types of treatment and it is important to find the method that works best for you. There are evidenced based treatments that insurance companies use so this may limit you if you want to look at a more holistic approach such as meditation and yoga.
Conventional Types of Therapy for Anxiety
There are many types of Therapy to treat Anxiety one of the most popular treatments used is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). The reason this method of treatment is widely used is because it is evidenced based, in other words research studies have shown that it can be highly effective when treating anxiety. CBT is an approach that focuses on changing patterns of thinking or behavior behind people’s difficulties to change the way they feel.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) uses methods of acceptance and mindfulness. This method is similar to what you learn in meditation therapy. ACT is learning to live in the moment and experience life without judgement. This along with commitment and behavior change is a way to cope with unwanted thoughts, feelings and sensations in the body.
ACT can help assist a person in learning to accept their experiences and look at them differently, develop more clear personal values and commit to behavior changes.
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) may involve individual and/or group therapy to learn mindfulness, as well as developing skills for interpersonal effectiveness, handling distress and regulating emotions. Integrating Cognitive-behavioral techniques with concepts from meditation, dialectical behavioral therapy, or DBT, combines acceptance and change.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Under certain conditions eye movements appear to reduce the intensity of disturbing thoughts. EMDR has a direct effect on the way that the brain processes information. EMDR helps a person see disturbing material in a less distressing way. EMDR appears to be similar to what occurs naturally during REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. Scientific research has established EMDR as effective for posttraumatic stress disorder. In addition, clinicians also have reported success using it to treat panic attacks and phobias.
Holistic Types of Therapy for Anxiety
Yoga therapy for anxiety can offer many benefits to easing your angst. Typically, people with Anxiety do not exercise on a regular basis so yoga will relieve anxiety to some degree. Yoga also requires focused breathing which many anxiety sufferers have poor breathing habits because of their anxiety. Bad breathing is one of the key causes of anxiety symptoms, so yoga will “retrain” the body to breathe better. Yoga also has a spiritual component that is useful for anxiety and yoga becomes potentially the best alternative anxiety treatment available.
Meditation Therapy which is one of my personal favorites is a practice that allows your brain to develop new pathways instead of the negative thought and worry patterns. The mind begins to experience itself without being overshadowed by anxious thoughts. Numerous scientific studies have discovered meditation to be very effective for treating anxiety. A study, published in the Psychological Bulletin, combined the findings of 163 different studies. The overall conclusion was that practicing mindfulness or meditation produced many beneficial results, with a substantial improvement in areas like negative personality traits, anxiety, and stress.
Relaxation Techniques can help tremendously reduce stress that produces panic. Relaxation techniques may not be a cure for anxiety on its own, but the realization techniques can provide tools to help you ease your symptoms. First, using the relaxation technique will give you a break from your syndrome- something that many people need when they deal with anxiety. Second, these techniques can also be used to calm you down before activities or events that may spark your nervousness. Finally, relaxation techniques simply take away some of the issues that people with anxiety have to deal with every day. It reduces anxiety and stress, loosens muscles, reduces pain, and may improve your feelings of hope. It’s something that can be completed at any time and provide you with that relief that you need.
Using the relaxation technique
- Find a quiet room where you will not be disturbed
- Close your eyes and begin to focus on your breathing. Notice if your breathing is rapid. Slow your breath down to calm breath. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Imagine inhaling in good energy and positive thoughts and exhaling bad energy and negative thoughts.
- Begin to focus on your body. Start with your toes and work you way up your entire body. A good way to focus on the body is to think, “My toes are relaxed, my calf muscles are relaxed, my back is relaxed etc.” When you do this you will literally feel your muscles relax. Remember to continue breathing.
- During this exercise, you can begin visualizing. I would recommend creating a place in your mind that you can go to whenever you want. For example: Imagine walking in a forest and coming upon a nice cabin. Ask yourself, “What is inside of the cabin?” “How is it decorated?” “Is there anyone there?” You can imagine anywhere you like, this is a great way for you to create!
- Once you are relaxed and in addition to the above you can also use positive affirmations such as:
- I am calm and relaxed
- I am happy
- I am having a great day
- I believe in myself
- Continue this process until you are no longer able to hold your negative thoughts anymore.
You can see there are many types of therapy for anxiety. What may work for one person may not work for another I recommend looking at several of them and even combining them.