In recent years, pharmaceuticals such as anti-depressants and tranquilizers have been widely used to treat a wide range of anxiety disorders. This trend, while usually immediately beneficial to the patient, has publicly overshadowed the therapeutic treatments which are arguably the most effective in the long run, particularly psychotherapy.
Therapy is the Most Effective Anxiety Treatment
If left untreated, anxiety disorders can have life-altering consequences. For example, some people who suffer from social anxiety will often avoid any social situation that they fear may trigger an attack. This behavior can create problems causing conflicting at work and with family obligations and other aspects of daily living.
People who have an untreated anxiety disorder often have other psychiatric conditions, such as substance abuse or depression. Relationships with romantic partners, family, friends and coworkers can become difficult to maintain. If someone suffering from anxiety has trouble concentrating on an ongoing basis, their job performance may suffer as well. Untreated anxiety disorders can lead to lost jobs and lost relationships.
Effective Treatments for Anxiety Disorders
The good news is that most cases of anxiety disorders are treated successfully through a variety of anxiety therapy approaches. Trained mental health professionals such as psychotherapists and psychiatrist provide therapy and in some instance medications. Research has demonstrated that a number of different types of therapy can be highly effective in treating anxiety disorders. The most common are Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy and Psychodynamic Therapy.
Medication vs Natural Remedies
Along with psychotherapy, medications may have a role in treatment. In cases where medications are used, the patient’s care may be managed collaboratively by more than one provider of treatment. It is important for patients to realize that there are side effects to any drugs, which must be monitored closely by the provider who prescribed the medication.For people who don’t want to take medication, such as women who are pregnant, there are alternatives to medication that have proven to be effective for some people. These include nutritional therapy, light therapy, herbal therapy, meditation, and yoga.
Group, Couples and Family Therapy for Anxiety
Psychotherapists sometimes use other approaches to anxiety treatment in addition to individual therapy. Couples counseling, group therapy, and family therapy can help individuals who have anxiety by addressing issues in those relationships.
The large majority of people who suffer from an anxiety disorder are able to reduce or eliminate their anxiety symptoms and return to normal functioning after several months of appropriate therapy. Many people notice improvement in symptoms and functioning within a few treatment sessions.
The patient should be comfortable from the outset with the psychotherapist. Together the patient and psychotherapist should develop an appropriate treatment plan. The patient’s participation is key, and there must be an ongoing patient and therapist collaboration.