While just about everyone has experienced anxiety symptoms before, including stress and nervousness, specific anxiety disorders exist. These disorders can significantly impact a person’s ability to function in everyday life. For example, people with an anxiety disorder might have difficulty maintaining relationships, challenges at work or school, trouble fulfilling a meaningful hobby, etc. Some anxiety disorders include:
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Panic disorder
- Certain phobias
- Generalized anxiety disorder
The severity of the anxiety disorder may depend upon the patient and sometimes may not even significantly impact a person’s life at first glance. However, despite the severity, methods exist for treating and managing anxiety.
How Do You Start Managing Anxiety?
To start managing your anxiety, it’s essential to learn about it generally and how it impacts your own life and behaviors. Then, a primary care provider such as a doctor can perform a physical exam which may involve asking you about your symptoms and performing a blood test. The blood is used to rule out other conditions like hypothyroidism and see if any current medications are causing symptoms. Finally, your primary care provider may refer you to an anxiety therapist who can help further.
How Can An Anxiety Therapist Help?
For managing and reducing anxiety and stress, meeting with an anxiety therapist can significantly help. Many anxiety therapists emphasize both primary and secondary treatments. Primarily treatment options may include:
- Cognitive therapy: This therapy focuses on helping patients change their thinking patterns. For example, a person with social anxiety or a social phobia might be afraid of not being liked by others to the point where a person turning away from them during conversation can trigger anxiety. This therapy seeks to change these thought patterns.
- Behavior therapy: Behavior therapy seeks to help a patient confront their fears/the source which their anxiety stems from. Your therapist will help you work out a plan to let you face your fears in small steps.
What Are Some Secondary Management Techniques?
When people hear the word “therapy,” they tend to picture a person laying on a couch while a therapist asks them a series of questions. While talking to someone is a component of anxiety management, the right anxiety therapist will recommend secondary techniques to complement your sessions. Some examples might include:
- Making changes to your diet, including cutting out caffeine or excess sugars
- Abstaining from bad habits like binge drinking or using nicotine
- Making sure you’re receiving enough sleep (at least eight hours for most patients)
- Recommending frequent exercise
- Practicing mindfulness
- Recommending you explore a new hobby or learn a new skill
- Building up your self-esteem
- Deep breathing and relaxation exercises
- Recommending support groups
Occasionally, your therapist may also recommend certain medications, however, these are often seen as short-term measures rather than permanent solutions to anxiety and stress. Additionally, medication can sometimes have adverse effects, making them far less safe than other treatments. For receiving treatment from an anxiety therapist in Arlington Heights, IL, the team at Lotus Wellness Center emphasizes using techniques like therapy sessions, mindfulness, and a proper diet first.