Treatments for Anxiety
Anxiety can have many negative effects in the life of one who suffers from it. It can make it social situations difficult and completely undermine one’s self-esteem. Anxiety can attack without warning or even an obvious trigger, making the sufferer miserable and unhappy. Luckily, there are a number of ways to treat anxiety, especially if the cause of it can be determined.
It is important to note that not everybody will respond to every treatment in the same way. Some treatments may not help one person at all, but make all the difference to another. Each person must try to find their most suitable treatment for anxiety by experimenting with different combinations of therapies. Also, it helps to try to determine what the source of the anxiety is. Once this is accomplished, the source can be avoided, resulting in a vast reduction in the amount of anxiety suffered.
The treatment option that many people think of first is medication. This option is only available with a prescription, and a doctor must monitor the patient’s progress in order to find the correct balance of positive results and negative side effects. Some examples of commonly used anti-depressant drugs are benzodiazepines and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs.
Many doctors will also recommend psychological therapy. One of the most regularly utilized psychological treatments for anxiety is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT is usually recommended in conjunction with medication, but not always. This method helps the user change their negative and destructive thought patterns into more positive ones, typically addressing the root cause of the anxiety. This can be obtained in an office with a trained psychologist or psychiatrist, but courses and material can also be found online.
Alternately, there are a few natural treatment options, such as:
- relaxation exercises
Herbs, including kava, passionflower and valerian, have been used for centuries by some peoples, especially the Chinese, to great effect as a treatment for anxiety. However, they have side effects (although herbal side effects are many times less serious than medication side effects) and should be used with caution. This is especially true for kava, which has been known to cause serious liver damage, even with short-term use.
Relaxation exercises like yoga and QiGong balance body chemicals and relax the body and mind, and breathing exercises increase oxygen intake. Both of these therapies have been shown to be effective in reducing anxiety and the frequency of anxiety-related panic attacks. Getting a massage or seeing an acupuncturist one to two times a week should also help lower anxiety levels and can be very relaxing overall.
Exercise is another treatment for anxiety that can be done at home and without a prescription. Doing 30 minutes of exercise every day is recommended. This helps distract the mind from the cause of the anxiety and has the added bonus of making the body healthier in general.
As mentioned before, it may take some experimentation to find the most effective therapy or combination of therapies that works the best. A holistic approach is generally more effective than using just one treatment modality. For example, a person suffering from work-based anxiety may find it helpful to take on less responsibility at work, do yoga after work several times a week, practice deep breathing exercises several times each day and then see a doctor for CBT or a prescription medication if the natural anxiety-reducing methods don’t work. The most important thing in making therapy productive may be a positive attitude. Belief that treatment will succeed will usually bring success, and vice versa. Persistence and confidence are the keys to relief.