Anxiety Disorders

The two main types of treatment for an anxiety disorder involves therapy and medication.

Psychotherapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is an effective treatment for anxiety disorders. One type of CBT is called exposure response prevention. This treatment is helpful for certain anxiety disorders like phobias and social anxiety. Its aim is to help a person develop a more constructive response to a fear. The goal is for the person with exposure to experience less anxiety over time and give him or her tools for coping with symptoms.

Medication

Some people find that medication is helpful in managing an anxiety disorder. Talk with your doctor about the potential benefits, risks and side effects.

  • Anti-anxiety medications. Certain medications work solely to reduce the emotional and physical symptoms of anxiety. Benzodiazepines such as alprazolam (Xanax) can treat social phobia, generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder.
  • Antidepressants. Many antidepressants may also be useful for treating anxiety that is mixed with depression. Some antidepressants may be useful for PTSD, generalized anxiety disorder and OCD, but may require higher doses.

Self-management Strategies and Education

Practicing self-management strategies, such as allowing specific periods of time for worrying, can free a person’s mind from worry throughout the rest of the day. Someone who becomes an expert on their condition and its triggers gains more control over their day.

Complementary Health Approaches

More and more people have begun using complementary and alternative treatments along with their conventional treatment to help with their recovery. Some of the most common approaches for treating anxeity include:

  • Stress and Relaxation Techniques. Relaxation techniques often combine breathing exercises and focused attention to calm the mind and body and can be an important component in treating phobias or panic disorder. 
  • Yoga. The combination of physical postures, breathing exercises and meditation found in yoga have helped many people improve the management of their anxiety disorder.
  • Exercise. Aerobic exercise can have a positive effect on your stress and anxiety. Check with your primary care doctor before beginning an exercise plan.