How Is Anxiety Treated?
Common treatments for anxiety include therapies and medication if needed. Like each person who experiences anxiety, all treatment options are unique and can be tailored to the person seeking care.
Anxiety has multiple therapy options for treatment, including talk therapy, cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), and interpersonal therapy (IPT).
Talk therapy helps treat people with many mental health conditions. They may be solo sessions, with parents or families, or in a group. Patients can work with a therapist to understand and control their anxiety.
CBT is a very effective treatment. It helps the patients think and behave differently when experiencing anxiety. It can also help patients identify and change negative thought patterns.
ACT is a behavioral therapy that applies self-acceptance with mindfulness practices. It helps achieve psychological flexibility. As a result, patients better manage their anxiety and stay present in the moment.
IPT is a shorter-term treatment for anxiety. In IPT, patients learn to understand underlying interpersonal issues to better express emotion.
Different types of medications can be used to treat anxiety. Using medication can be especially helpful in reducing anxiety symptoms when beginning therapy.
Antidepressant medications, known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, can help relieve anxiety symptoms. They are also used to reduce depression symptoms that can often occur alongside anxiety.
Some medications aren’t effective immediately at lowering anxiety. It may take anywhere from two to six weeks for a person to feel a difference.
If you are put on a medication for your anxiety, don’t stop taking it unless you are told to. Many people stop taking medication for anxiety once they start feeling better. This is simply a sign that it is working—and your symptoms can return if you stop taking it.
It’s important for you and your doctor to discuss:
- The benefits and side effects of each
- The risk of side effects based on other conditions or your medical history
- If medication will require other lifestyle changes
- If there will be any effects to any other medication you may be taking
Stress management, when practiced alongside other anxiety-lowering methods, can be very effective. Meditation and deep breathing techniques can help calm your nervous system, which lowers anxiety and enhances the effects of therapy.
Other helpful strategies to lower stress include:
- Taking time every day to unwind, including screen-less time
- Limiting caffeine intake, especially after noon
- Healthy sleeping patterns, including having a regular bedtime every day
- Learning your anxiety triggers
Learn more about stress management in this webinar with McLean’s Dr. Chris Palmer. Watch now on demand!
Anxiety Is Treatable—And Manageable
Don’t lose hope!
Anxiety disorders are far more common than many realize. If you feel that you or a loved one may have anxiety, consider seeking help from a mental health professional.
It may be difficult for others to understand if they haven’t experienced it themselves. By explaining that we all have anxiety—some of us just have more of it than others—we can aid others in understanding their anxiousness.
Anxiety is a chronic illness that many believe will get better on its own. That’s not the case. However, it’s manageable, common, and nothing to be embarrassed or scared of.
Contact your care primary care provider or a mental health facility like McLean to find the care that you—or a loved one—may need.
Let us help you find the care that’s right for you. McLean offers world-class anxiety treatment for children, teens, and adults. Contact us today at 877.646.5272 to learn more about treatment options.
Want More Info?
Looking for even more information about anxiety? You may find these resources helpful.
Interesting Articles and Videos and More
Learn more about anxiety and what you can do if you or a loved one is displaying signs of anxiety or related disorders.
These organizations may also have useful information:
Anxiety and Depression Association of America
An organization dedicated to increasing awareness and improving the diagnosis and treatment of anxiety disorders in children and adults.
National Anxiety Foundation
A nonprofit organization that offers education, reading lists, and resources for those living with anxiety disorders.
The Child Anxiety Network
This organization aims to provide thorough, user-friendly information about child anxiety. They also offer direction for those who are not sure where to turn when they think their child or a child they know may need professional help to cope with anxiety.
Books About Anxiety
Stuff That’s Loud: A Teen’s Guide to Unspiraling When OCD Gets Noisy
by Ben Sedley and Lisa W. Coyne
(New Harbinger, 2020)
Anxiety and Panic Attacks: Your Questions Answered
by Daniel Zwillenberg