The global rise in mental health problems emanated from anxiety that leads to undesirable behaviors among individuals.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, about 18% of U.S. adults and 25% of adolescents 13 to 18 years old will experience anxiety. Anxiety affects millions worldwide and can lead to social, economic, and public health consequences.
However, it is essential to help anyone experiencing anxiety improve their mental health status. By prioritizing mental health and providing appropriate resources for such individuals, family and friends’ support is invaluable.
In addition, the specialized guidance of a therapist can help the patient cope with and overcome anxiety challenges.
Consult therapists on BetterHelp for quick guidance on how you or someone close to you can manage or reduce the symptoms of anxiety disorder.
According to the American Psychological Association, many improve significantly within 8 to 10 therapy sessions. By working collaboratively with a therapist, anxiety patients can embark on a journey of self-discovery, personal growth, and healing.
As a result, they will find more outstanding balance, resilience, and improved overall well-being. However, the therapeutic approach for someone with anxiety varies significantly. Read on to learn more about the best therapist for anxiety.
Most people misinterpret the concept of anxiety to be about distress alone. However, anxiety goes beyond the stage of desperation. About 4% of adults, and nearly 6% of teens, have anxiety disorders classified as severe.
For some people, uncertainty, fear, and isolation are among the extreme conditions they experience. According to the American Psychological Association, anxiety is an emotion full of feelings of tension and bothering thoughts that can lead to anxiety disorder.
Types of Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety disorders are deteriorated conditions characterized by excessive and persistent fear or worry. As a result, they disrupt a patient’s daily life and functioning.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), anxiety disorders are among the most common mental health conditions in the United States, and approximately 19% of the general population has a diagnosed anxiety disorder. It is essential also to note that there are other types of anxiety disorders:
Phobias are related to anxiety disorders, creating an intense and irrational fear of specific objects, situations, or activities. The fear experienced by individuals with phobias is typically disproportionate to the threat posed by the object or situation.
Phobias can lead to avoidance behavior, where the person goes to great lengths to avoid encountering the feared trigger. As a result, it can disrupt their ability to engage in everyday activities and cause considerable distress and impairment.
2. Selective Mutism
Selective mutism occurs when there is a consistent inability to speak in specific social situations or to particular people.
This condition typically manifests during childhood, often before age five, when a child enters public gatherings. The child experiences extreme anxiety and discomfort in situations where he ought to speak.
3. Panic Disorder
Recurrent and unexpected panic attacks and sudden periods of intense fear or discomfort characterize panic disorder. These attacks can be unpredictable and occur without any obvious trigger or warning.
Panic attacks can be very distressing and often lead to a fear of having future attacks. This condition can significantly impact a person’s daily life and well-being.
People with this condition often worry about having more panic attacks in the future and may make significant changes to their behavior to avoid triggering new attacks.
4. Separation Anxiety
Separation anxiety is a specific anxiety disorder that primarily affects children but can also manifest in adults.
It is characterized by excessive and overwhelming fear or distress when separated from a primary attachment figure or a place of security, such as a parent, caregiver, or home. The fear of separation is disproportionate to the threat posed by being apart from the attachment figure or place.
5. Social Anxiety Disorder
Social Anxiety Disorder is a prevalent and debilitating form of anxiety disorder that affects millions of individuals worldwide. It is characterized by an overwhelming and persistent fear of social situations, particularly those involving interaction with others or being the center of attention.
In addition, other anxiety and stress-related disorders can significantly impact a person’s life. Two prominent examples are post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
PTSD can develop after a person experiences a traumatic event, such as combat exposure, physical or sexual assault, natural disasters, accidents, or other life-threatening situations.
OCD, on the other hand, is characterized by recurrent, intrusive thoughts, images, or urges (obsessions) that cause distress and anxiety.
Treatment Options for Anxiety
Treatment options for anxiety can vary depending on the severity of the condition and individual circumstances.
Consulting with a qualified healthcare professional to determine the most suitable approach is essential. Here are some standard treatment options for anxiety:
Therapy is an effective and widely recommended treatment option for anxiety. A licensed therapist collaboratively works with the individual to identify and challenge negative thought patterns and behaviors contributing to their stress.
Through this process, patients can better understand their triggers and learn healthier coping strategies. In addition, therapy helps individuals develop skills to manage anxiety, gradually exposing them to feared situations in a controlled manner, leading to desensitization.
In some cases, healthcare providers may prescribe medications to manage anxiety. Commonly prescribed medications include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), which can help with anxiety.
Regular check-ups from friends, family, or healthcare professionals can positively affect the individual’s recovery and coping process.
This emotional support can be crucial in helping the person feel less isolated and more understood. In addition, it will aid open and honest communication, allowing the individual to express his feelings and concerns.
Simple self-care can have a significant impact on anxiety. Regular exercise, a balanced diet, sufficient sleep, and stress management techniques like mindfulness and meditation can help reduce anxiety symptoms.
5. Social Support
Leveraging social support or support group therapy sessions can provide a sense of community and understanding. It allows individuals to share their experiences and learn from others who are going through similar challenges.
Types of Therapy for Anxiety
1. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a highly effective and evidence-based approach to treating the most severe forms of anxiety.
It is a form of psychotherapy that focuses on identifying and modifying negative thought patterns, emotional responses, and behavioral patterns contributing to anxiety symptoms.
Studies have found that CBT is often over 95% effective for treating anxiety. The underlying principle of CBT is that our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors are interconnected, and by changing one aspect, we can influence others.
2. Dialectical Behavior Therapy
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a highly effective form of psychotherapy that has shown great promise in treating anxiety. DBT involves a combination of cognitive-behavioral techniques and mindfulness practices.
An article in The Mental Health Clinician indicates that DBT has reduced medical care and medications by 90%. The therapy aims to help individuals learn new coping skills to manage their anxiety, regulate their emotions, and improve their overall quality of life.
3. Exposure Therapy
Exposure therapy is a widely used and effective psychological treatment for anxiety disorders. This therapy aims to help individuals with anxiety confront their fear by exposing them to the feared stimuli in a controlled and safe environment.
In addition, exposure therapy can be applied to various anxiety disorders, such as specific phobias, social anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). A 2001 clinical trial shows that virtual reality exposure therapy is beneficial in treating PTSD.
If conducted appropriately, exposure therapy can be a transformative and empowering treatment for individuals struggling with anxiety.
4. Psychodynamic Therapy
Psychodynamic therapy is a valuable and practical approach to treating anxiety. During these therapy sessions, the client and the therapist establish a solid therapeutic relationship.
This relationship is a safe and supportive environment for individuals to express their thoughts, feelings, and emotions openly.
Through introspection and self-reflection, clients gain insight into the subconscious patterns and defense mechanisms that may fuel their anxiety.
5. Interpersonal Therapy
Interpersonal Therapy (IPT) is a widely recognized and practical therapeutic approach for treating anxiety disorders. IPT addresses interpersonal issues that may contribute to or exacerbate anxiety symptoms.
The therapy aims to enhance communication skills, improve emotional expression, and foster healthier relationships, ultimately alleviating anxiety symptoms.
6. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a contemporary psychotherapeutic approach that has shown promising results in treating anxiety and other forms.
Unlike traditional treatments focusing on reducing or eliminating symptoms, ACT seeks to foster psychological flexibility and acceptance of uncomfortable emotions and thoughts.
The fundamental principle of ACT is to help individuals recognize and acknowledge their anxious feelings without trying to suppress or control them.
7. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a psychotherapy technique initially developed to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
However, it has also shown promise in treating various anxiety disorders. The therapy aims to desensitize the individual from the emotional distress associated with anxiety triggers, allowing them to develop adaptive coping mechanisms and beliefs.
Finding the Right Therapist
Finding the right therapist for anxiety is crucial to improving your mental health and well-being. Here are some steps to help you find a suitable therapist:
1. Identify the Type of Therapist: Consider your specific needs and preferences when choosing the type.
2. Research Therapists: Start by doing some research in your area. You can search online directories, use mental health platforms, or ask for recommendations.
3. Check Credentials: Ensure the therapist is licensed to practice in your state or country. You can verify their credentials through relevant licensing boards or online databases.
4. Read Reviews and Testimonials: Check online reviews and testimonials from previous clients. While individual experiences vary, these can give you some insight into the therapist’s approach and effectiveness.
5. Consider the Therapist’s Approach: Look into the therapist’s therapeutic approach. Choose a therapist whose approach aligns with your preferences and needs.
6. Check Insurance Coverage: If you have health insurance, verify whether your plan covers the therapist. This can help you manage the cost of therapy sessions.
7. Contact Potential Therapists: Once you have a shortlist of potential therapists, contact them to inquire about their availability, fees, and approach.
8. Consider Teletherapy Options: With technological advancements, many therapists now offer teletherapy or online counseling services. This can provide more flexibility in scheduling and access to therapists outside your local area.
Finding the right therapist might take some time, and trying out a few before deciding is okay. The most important factor is finding someone you feel comfortable with and support on your journey towards managing anxiety.
BetterHelp is the best platform for you to have quick access to experienced and licensed therapists. Get registered to book an appointment with one of our online teletherapists. With your smartphone, tablet, or laptop, enjoy the most engaging sessions anytime, anywhere.
How to Make Anxiety Counseling Work for You
Making anxiety counseling work for you involves some steps you must follow:
Set Realistic Goals
Be Open and Honest
Practice Active Listening
Implement Homework and Exercises
Be Patient with Yourself
Challenge Negative Thoughts
Develop Coping Strategies
Keep a Journal
Be Consistent and Celebrate Progress
1. Make Sure Your Therapist Is the Right Fit
Finding the right therapist is crucial for a successful therapeutic experience. Here are some tips to ensure you find the right fit:
Researching Different Therapists:
Look for therapists with expertise in the areas you wish to address and consider factors like location, availability, and specialization.
Asking for Recommendations:
Recommendations from people you trust can provide valuable insights into finding a therapist who might be a good fit for you.
Checking Their Credentials:
Ensure that the therapists you consider are licensed and accredited by relevant professional organizations.
Considering the Therapeutic Approach:
Research and discuss therapeutic approaches with potential therapists to determine which aligns best with your preferences and needs.
Assessing Their Experience:
Consider the therapist’s experience treating individuals with similar concerns or issues.
2. Learning About Anxiety:
It’s good you educate yourself about anxiety to understand its symptoms, causes, and potential treatment options.
3. Reducing Your Overall Stress If You Can:
Engage in stress-reducing activities like exercise, mindfulness practices, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
4. Cultivating Your Relationships:
Building and maintaining supportive relationships can be beneficial for managing anxiety.
5. Sticking to Your Treatment Plan for Anxiety:
Be consistent with attending therapy sessions and adhering to the treatment plan you and your therapist designed.