One of the most commonly diagnosed mental health conditions in the United States are anxiety disorders. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illnesses, nearly twenty percent of adults struggle with an anxiety disorder. That said, seven percent of children (ages 3 to 17) are diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. Solutions for anxiety treatment are typically therapy and psychiatric medication. As of late, complimentary care methods, in addition to anxiety therapy, are gaining traction due to volumes of efficacy being found such as mindfulness and meditation.
Many people go years without a diagnosis of an anxiety disorder. This is partly due to the way symptoms can manifest and look like other health issues, particularly hypertension, gastrointestinal problems, and migraines. Once diagnosed, anxiety disorders are highly treatable, but many people do not seek help until their anxiety has taken over many areas of life. Depending on the source of the anxiety disorder and how it affects the person, there are many treatment options. Mindful Living Group uses a holistic approach which aids in treating symptoms and discovering the root causes with gentle, thorough anxiety therapy and an integrative approach to healing which may include developing a regular self care practice with mindfulness, yoga, meditation, and nutrition that works well for your unique body and mind.
What Is Anxiety Disorder Therapy?
Anxiety is a normal and healthy response to perceived or real threats of harm or stressful situations. Everyone is likely to experience anxiety to some degree in life. A little anxiety can be very useful especially in generating a healthy amount of motivation and in keeping us safe. When tension, fear, panic, and avoidance begin to control and interfere with daily life, increasing as time goes by, the switch from healthy anxiety to an anxiety disorder can occur. Without treatment, anxiety disorders often worsen. It is even common for other mental illnesses to co-exist with an anxiety disorder, along with physical health problems. Anxiety therapy includes, but is not limited to, various types of psychotherapy, family or group therapy, medication, stress management, mindfulness, meditation and exercise.
Therapy for anxiety is an ideal option any stage of anxiety. Early intervention is best, such as when there are changes in sleep or concentration, rumination or a worrisome mind, or any combination of symptoms. Therapists who treat Anxiety help patients develop healthy coping skills and tools for minimizing anxiety symptoms. Education on stress management and addressing interpersonal problems are a part of anxiety counseling, which can have long-term benefits, especially in preventing the development of an anxiety disorder or other negative impacts on life.
The most popular form of psychotherapy in treating anxiety is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), as it has solid evidence-based findings in success at reducing symptoms. The short-term, structured treatment is designed to help the patient identify and take control over negative thought patterns and behaviors. CBT can adapt to several types of anxiety disorders such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) is derived from CBT. The main focus is encouraging the patient to face unfavorable circumstances with a more neutral and accepting thought and behavior pattern. In doing so, urges to control uncontrollable circumstances are reduced, and their daily quality of life improves.
When a person has an anxiety disorder, it can cause turmoil in relationships, especially among family members. For people who do not struggle with an anxiety disorder, it can be challenging to understand the mental prison anxiety can create. Family therapy sometimes plays a crucial role in the treatment and support of the patient. During sessions, a counselor or therapist may appear somewhat like a guide or mediator between family members. There are many modalities a therapist may use such as structural family therapy that aims to implement clearer roles, boundaries, and expectations among the family system that take into account and balance the development, mental health, and unique needs of each family member.
In some cases, prescription medication, in combination with other forms of treatment, is required. Medications are unique treatments that are not the same for everyone. In situations where medication is recommended, it’s vital to discuss the pros and cons with your psychiatrist. It should be noted that finding the correct medication and dosage can take time, in some cases up to two years, which is why utilizing other options in the meantime are essential. In other milder cases, herbal supplements, vitamins, or bodywork such as acupuncture may be enough to stabilize.
Everyone’s treatment is unique, and what works for one person may not work for another. Overcoming an anxiety disorder takes time, commitment, and cannot be rushed. Learning to be patient with yourself and celebrate milestones is important.
Anxiety Therapy with Mindful Living Group
Because of the effect on the mind, body, and spirit, treating anxiety disorders is most successful when done in a comprehensive, holistic manner. Poor diet, lifestyle choices, and lack of exercise all contribute to an increase in anxiety. Making changes in diets such as eliminating excess sugar and caffeine are excellent places to start.
Most people’s days often begin with the abrupt awakening of an alarm clock. As soon as their feet hit the floor, daily routines are rushed, and brains swarmed with the pinging of cell phones and emails. With the addition of poor quality sleep, it’s no wonder anxiety is so prevalent in adults and children. Mindful Living Group offers several lifestyle programs, groups, and at times retreats to support and educate lifestyle changes: nutrition, time management, community support, mindfulness, yoga and more.
Breathing and grounding exercises are often practiced during therapy sessions and assigned as “homework.” Breathwork is a form of meditation and can be used in mindfulness, too. It allows you to reconnect with your body, energy and grounds you to the present moment. Anxiety can causes the heart and nervous system to speed up, triggering the release of cortisol (stress hormone). Some forms of breathwork can regulate the nervous system bringing conscious awareness to thoughts and rhythmic breathing, ultimately slowing our hearts down, calming the fight-or-flight response, and reducing levels of fear and distress.
Benefits of Anxiety Therapy
Anxiety disorders are notorious for instilling self-doubt. This self-doubt can be a trigger when faced with decisions or completing tasks. As you move through sessions of CBT, ACT, or any of the several therapeutic options, self-confidence can be regained. Anxiety therapy integrated with mindfulness provides an opportunity to become more compassionate with yourself.
During panic attacks or anxiety episodes, the beliefs created about yourself can be harsh and unforgiving. Anxiety therapy allows you to regain your self-confidence and believe in what you are capable of. The feelings of inadequacy begin to dissipate, and you learn to be kinder and compassionate with yourself and others. A therapist offers the clinical skills that may be necessary to help unlock the root causes of anxiety.
Gaining support through groups, community, or family members is influential in overcoming your anxiety disorder. The reality is that bad days will happen, triggers will arise, and it’s crucial to be forgiving with yourself and learn to ask for help when it is needed. Self-care plays a significant role in reducing the symptoms of anxiety. This can include massage therapy, acupuncture, exercise (aerobics, yoga, or tai chi), eating healthy, saying no, managing commitments and a schedule, and much more.
Getting Started with Anxiety Therapy
Starting something new is often a trigger for panic attacks. It is vital that you feel comfortable and safe speaking with your therapist. Researching treatment options and therapists in your area is an excellent way to begin. Finding a therapist that you work well with is imperative to anxiety therapy. When scheduling your appointment or during the first session, ask questions. Your therapist will understand the importance of the therapeutic relationship, and if they are not a good match, they can likely direct you to a colleague that is. For some people, driving or public spaces are a significant trigger. In these situations, telehealth therapy options are available. Many therapeutic techniques, such as CBT, are practical for in-person or telehealth sessions. If Anxiety is a challenge, Mindful Living Group is here to help.