Psychotherapy And Anxiety: An Effective Treatment
Anyone can experience anxiety and, in fact, most people experience some level of anxiety on a regular basis. Anxiety is a feeling of being uneasy, worried or nervous about something that is going to happen or something with an unsure potential outcome.
For example, everyone has had a level of test anxiety in school, even if the studied and felt confident before the test that they know the questions and the answers. Then, the closer to test time the more you began to doubt yourself, image questions you forgot to study for or simply became nervous or fearful about your abilities.
The physical responses at that time may have ranged from a dry mouth to feeling ill. Some people may develop headaches and begin to feel hot, dizzy or as if they had to get up and walk or run. Some people may become withdrawn and isolated as they internalised their self-doubt.
However, once the test arrived and you glanced at the questions and knew the answers, those feelings subsided. By the end of the test, you were again confident and feeling positive about the result.
People with anxiety disorders don't have that release from those feelings of anxiety. They feel as if all of life is a test, and they see themselves as not having the skills, ability or knowledge to pass. Anxiety begins to affect all parts of their life causing chronic stress, insomnia, irritability, anger and even depression. Physical illnesses are also often associated with anxiety including weakened immune systems, chronic digestive disorders and headaches and even muscle aches and pains.
When anxiety reaches this level, psychotherapy can be a very effective treatment option to change the thoughts around the future to more realistic and based in fact.
How Psychology Helps Anxiety
It is important to realise that anxiety stems from thoughts about a specific event, real or imaginary, to which the body responds. Medications can be effective in eliminating the physical symptoms of anxiety, but psychotherapy can address the underlying issues that are causing the endless loop of negative messages.
There are many different types of anxiety including generalised anxiety, panic disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorders, social anxiety, phobias and Post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD.
Treating each type of anxiety will be slightly different, particularly with PTSD where the psychotherapists may include other treatment options.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
One of the most often used approaches in the treatment of anxiety disorders is the use of cognitive behavioural therapy or CBT. This is a treatment method that allows the psychotherapist and the client to understand the cause of the anxiety and to look at more effective coping mechanism to change the current behaviour.
In this treatment, the client will learn to recognize a destructive thought pattern, transform that thought in a more realistic thought, and then be able to evaluate their behaviour and make better choices.
Most psychotherapists use an integrated, holistic approach to the treatment of anxiety. This can include using group therapy, art or music therapy and even teaching meditation, mindfulness, and yoga.
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