Anxiety can impact many individuals throughout their lifetime. The question that comes to mind is when is it time to seek a professional? According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), around 19% of U.S. adults and 31% of adolescents age 13 to 18 experience anxiety each year. This number has increased dramatically after the Corona Virus pandemic. There are several major types of anxiety disorders that can be treated using therapeutic approaches.
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) used by mental health professionals in the United States, the five major types of anxiety disorders recognized by the are:
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder. …
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) …
- Panic Disorder. …
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) …
- Social Phobia (or Social Anxiety Disorder)
For many people therapy—alone or in combination with medication—is the most effective treatment option. The reason being that therapy, unlike medication, provides you with the tools to manage the anxiety yourself. Talk therapy often helps normalize emotions, expectations, and teaches new ways of handling stress.
Over time, different therapeutic techniques have been developed to treat anxiety and have evolved from psychoanalytic approaches to the newest cognitive behavioral therapies. In addition, mindfulness and breath work are being understood to help in driving down symptoms of anxiety.
Regardless of the specific diagnosed anxiety disorder, the underlying processes that drive them often follow a very similar pattern. Adults as well as children with anxiety tend to react to unpleasant thoughts, feelings, and situations in a more extreme way and may try to manage those reactions by avoiding certain triggers. Unfortunately, most often avoidance only serves to reinforce fears and worries. Newer, more modern types of therapy address negative thinking and avoidance to help you manage and lower your anxiety and responses.
The goal of all therapeutic approaches is to help you understand why you feel the way you feel, what your triggers are, and how you might change your reaction to them. Several types of therapy can teach practical techniques to help you reframe your negative thinking and change your behaviors.
Anxiety disorders can differ considerably from person to person
so it is important you find a therapist you feel is tailored to your specific symptoms and diagnosis. The session can be conducted in an individual, family, couple, or group setting. Depending on severity of anxious symptoms can help determine how often you meet with your therapist and for treatment will be needed.
If you currently live with anxiety and it impairs your day-to-day functioning, it is very important to seek help from your doctor and/or a mental health professional. If you are diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, an effective treatment plan can help you manage and even overcome symptoms leading to a happier and more fulfilling life.
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© 2023 by Stacey Inal, CA LMFT #120626 Los Angeles, California.