Using Therapy to Treat Anxiety

Using Therapy
October 26, 2020

Whether you are struggling with anxiety, panic attacks, excessive worries, obsessive thoughts or some phobia that make it hard to keep up with daily routines, you should know that help is available. You don’t have to struggle with constant fear and anxiety. For most anxiety disorders, therapy can help. Unlike drug medication, therapy resolves more than just the symptoms of anxiety, allowing the patient to uncover the factors of the fears and worries. Therapy allows you to learn relaxation techniques and how to examine situations in ways that are less frightening. In other words, the goal of therapy is to allow the client to acquire the tools needed to overcome and cope with anxiety.

It is important to reiterate that, while anxiety attacks may feel miserable, it is a normal and basic part of human emotion. At some point in our lives, we all experience anxiety, particularly when faced with situations we consider dangerous or threatening. It could be just before an important interview or when anticipating a difficult engagement with someone we love.

In truth, anxiety is there to protect individuals and is a survival reaction developed over time. However, although the nerves we feel before a major event can help boost performance and help us protect ourselves, chronic anxiety can have serious detrimental effects. The distinction between the normal forms of anxiety and what requires intervention comes in terms of frequency and intensity of the anxiety attacks. Although stressing about an anticipated major even is normal, waking up for no apparent reason with a sense of dread or panic is not. When the worries are incessant, or panic attacks occur often and are starting to interfere with your normal functioning, then it may be time to consider getting professional help from a therapist.

Understand that anxiety disorders are actually quite prevalent and affect one in every five people in the United Kingdom. The presentations and types of anxiety vary considerably from one person to the other. There are people who can clearly identify when the anxiety episodes started, while others cannot pinpoint where the panic attacks started. The common thing with all forms of anxiety is that if left untreated, the condition can become debilitating.

The good news is that with proper therapy, a life free from anxiety attacks is possible. Therapy allows clients to live comfortable lives and make a full recovery. Here are some notable ways through which therapy can help people struggling with anxiety:

Helps People to Develop Healthy Coping Mechanisms

Most people struggling with anxiety develop some unhealthy mechanisms for coping with panic attacks. In most cases, these strategies actually work to exacerbate the anxiety instead of reducing the condition. The natural instinct, when faced with fear, is to run from or avoid addressing the situation. Failing to address or confront the feelings ends up giving the anxiety more power. Therapy teaches people that the trick to dealing with anxiety is to move closer and handle underlying issues. With proper support, people struggling with anxiety can learn strategies for coping with negative thoughts and addressing situations that seem uncomfortable.

Helps People Identify Their Triggers

The most effective way to deal with anxiety is to understand the underlying factors. The challenge with anxiety is that identifying the underlying factors is complicated. The sensations often wash over people and can be overwhelming. With therapy, one gets that chance to step back from the consuming sensations to take a critical look at the issues. The client gets a chance to discover the causes of anxiety as well as the various triggers of the condition. You may discover, for instance, that anxiety attacks tend to happen in specific situations or when engaging specific issues. With proper therapy, you can identify the areas of your life that need to be changed.

Helps with Reframing Thinking

Another benefit of therapy is that it allows people to make the required mental changes. Although the idea of change may seem scary, it may be just what you need to overcome anxiety. Most people assume that only mental factors play a role in the causation and worsening of anxiety disorders. In truth, however, these external factors may trigger anxiety, but there are underlying factors in the way we react to pressure. Depending on how we interpret the world, similar situations may cause fear in dissimilar ways. One way through which anxiety becomes debilitating is that it distorts thinking and how we look at reality. With a competent therapist, clients can identify and deconstruct these irrational fears and cognitive distortions.

In summary, therapy helps people to change their thinking, address underlying issues, and build self-awareness. A professional counselor will also help the client to manage and understand the physical manifestations of anxiety. All these reasons make it important to seek therapy when struggling with anxiety or any other mental health issue.

Kate Skurat

Kate Skurat

Licensed Mental Health Counselor

Washington, United States

Kate has a B.S. in Psychology and M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Pepperdine University and has worked in healthcare since 2017. She primarily treated depression, anxiety, eating disorders, trauma, and grief, as well as identity, relationship and adjustment issues. Her clinical experience has focused on individual and group counseling, emergency counseling and outreach. Read more.

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