Treatment of Anxiety Disorders

The treatment of the various forms of anxiety disorders varies according to the type of anxiety the person is suffering from. The first step in treatment is to tailor the treatment plan to the specific disorder and the feared situation. In general, behavioural modifications techniques, anxiolytic agents and antidepressant have been the most effective treatment. There are a number of effective behavioural techniques for treatment of anxiety disorders. Relaxation therapy and breathing exercises can help in treating anxiety and hyperventilation that occurs in panic disorders. Psychotherapy can be helpful in resolving underlying conflicts. Expressing feelings can reveal how blocked feelings are associated with a feared object or source of anxiety. One form of treatment involves exposure to the feared object or situation, in gradually increasing ways. For example, the therapist may ask someone afraid of cats to think of a small cat far away, then a larger or closer one before eventually approaching a harmless cat. This treatment is called systemic desensitization. For some anxiety disorders, medication may be necessary or helpful in conjunction with behaviour therapy. Usually anxioluytics and antidepressants are used.

Deciding to get help

When people feel uncomfortable about a certain situation, they begin to avoid it. This avoidance can interfere with a normal and productive life. Anxiety disorders often interferes with jobs, family, and social responsibilities. For example, people with these disorders may lose their job, because they are afraid to travel or attend business lunches; they might refuse a job in a high-rise building, fearing elevators. The goal of therapy for anxiety disorders is to resolve any emotional conflicts that may have lead to the disorder, to express feelings, and to permit confronting of the feared situations or objects. By learning to confront the feared situation in therapy, patients can gradually reduce anxiety. The prognosis for therapy of most anxiety disorders is relatively good. You should emerge from treatment free from anxiety-based limitations, and able to function fully both with friends and at work.