Therapy for anxiety

Do you often feel restless, agitated, or overwhelmed with worries and thoughts of what might go wrong? Anxiety can interfere with your ability to succeed at work or in school, sabotage family life, challenge romantic relationships, and make for difficult interpersonal interactions.

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Overview

Do you frequently experience anxiety, unease, lack of motivation, or relationship issues? Do you often get intrusive thoughts? Do you frequently feel insecure and question what others think of you? Your emotional challenges may be powered by an anxiety disorder. Fortunately, anxiety often responds well to treatment. 

Anxiety is extremely common

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, more than one in five US adults between 18 and 60 experienced an anxiety disorder in the last year.

Even prior to Covid-19, the prevalence of anxiety was on the rise. The epidemic just amplified this secular long-term tendency. Before and during the epidemic, psychologists and social workers measured an increase in the severity and frequency of emotional issues. In fact, the “Hedonometer” at the University of Vermont measured the lowest level of human happiness ever recorded in the United States.

Modern life creates a perfect storm for anxiety. Working from home, having fewer social interactions, less time with friends, looser familial ties, spending more time indoors, and large doses of screen time all contribute to the increase in anxiety. A growing number of individuals are finding it difficult to manage their stress. Some people use alcohol to self-medicate or adopt other unhealthy behaviours.

Anxiety levels, once elevated, tend to stay high or get higher

Everyone is hard-wired to react to anxiety. When our brain perceives hazards, such as a bear emerging from the woods or a speeding car approaching, anxiety helps us respond to the challenge. When we are concerned about missing a plane, we sprint to the gate. When we need to meet a deadline at work, we can get an extra burst of energy.

When we don’t respond effectively to an anxiety trigger, or if the trigger persists over time, we can get stuck in stress-induced mental pathways. We can develop unhealthy and negative coping patterns that keep us stuck feeling anxious even after the initial trigger has passed.

Types of anxiety disorders

Anxiety can appear differently in different people and at different times in their life. Generalized anxiety disorder, panic attacks, social anxiety, and phobias are all anxiety-related disorders.

Symptoms

Your symptoms may depend on the specific anxiety disorder that you experience.

Social anxiety can make it difficult for you to speak up at work or school, engage in social situations, or even have trouble leaving the house.

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) usually persistent feelings of anxiety or dread. Other symptoms include feeling on edge or restless, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, difficulty sleeping, irritability, headaches, muscle aches, stomachaches, or other pain without a clear source.

Panic attacks may include experiencing accelerated heart rate, sweating, trembling, chest pain, or feeling out of control.

Phobias — an intense fear that is out of proportion to the actual danger posed by the object or the situation. Some examples of phobias include fear of flying, heights, or being in an enclosed space. 

Causes and risk factors

Hereditary and environmental variables contribute to the chance of developing an anxiety disorder. Exposure to adverse life or environmental events, a family history of anxiety, and/or other mental health challenges in your family make it more likely that you will have difficulty managing anxiety.

Certain physical issues, such as thyroid disorders and heart arrhythmias, are associated with an increased risk for anxiety disorders. High doses of caffeine or substance abuse can make anxiety more likely.

Treatment for anxiety

Anxiety disorders tend to respond well to psychotherapy or “talk therapy”.  For psychotherapy to be effective, it should be focused on your specific experience. requirements. With the right choice of therapist and therapy approach, you can restore balance in your life. You can live a life with fewer worries. You can feel more calm and more content. You can be more present and live a fuller, more meaningful life.

Cognitive Behavioural  Therapy (CBT) teaches individuals alternative ways of thinking, responding, and reacting to situations in order to reduce anxiety and fear. CBT has been extensively researched.

Exposure therapy is a CBT technique for the treatment of anxiety disorders. Exposure therapy focuses on tackling the worries underlying an anxiety condition in order to assist individuals in engaging in activities they have been avoiding. Sometimes, exposure treatment is combined with relaxation exercises.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) employs mindfulness, goal-setting, and other strategies to alleviate discomfort and anxiety. 

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) can help you recover from challenges caused by traumatic life events by desensitizing you to the effects of past trauma. EMDR is often used to treat anxiety, including panic attacks, social anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and phobias.

Reach out today

Are you experiencing symptoms of anxiety? Do you want to develop skills to control anxiety? Basanti Counseling offers effective treatment for anxiety, depression, trauma, and more. In-person and online appointments are available in Ontario. Reach out today to schedule your free consultation.

Related information

National Institute of Mental Health statistics on the prevalence of anxiety disorders.

American Psychological Association – the difference between stress and anxiety.