If you experience anxiety, chances are that you’ve asked yourself at least once if your anxiety will ever go away. Well, the good news is that anxiety is very treatable and if not cured, its symptoms can certainly be managed!
Anxiety and Stress are a Normal Part of Life
When something happens that threatens you in some way, it’s natural to feel stressed or anxious. This is part of how we protect ourselves from danger and it’s been passed down to us from our ancestors via evolution. Anxiety is part of the fight or flight response and has physical as well as emotional components to it. Historically, it is short-lived- this is how this system was made to function. You are threatened by something in your environment like a bear, your sympathetic system starts the fight or flight response, you take care of the bear by either fighting it off or running away from it, then the parasympathetic system does its thing and calms your body back down to its normal state, and everything is good. When it works in this manner, anxiety is normal and even beneficial for us. It protects us from danger.
If your stress or anxiety is stemming from a situation that’s going on in your life, it will most likely only last a few days, or until the situation itself is resolved. However, if you have an anxiety disorder, this whole sequence is not working correctly and it most likely won’t just go away.
What Happens with an Anxiety Disorder?
If you have an anxiety disorder, your system might be extra sensitive and trigger for little or no apparent reason, causing you to feel anxiety when there really is no reason for it. And once you’re in the anxious state, you most likely have a harder time calming down and returning to a calmer mood. Because of this, you experience stress, anxiety, and worrying more frequently, perhaps without any trigger, and it will tend to stick around for a longer period of time. But, as I said above, anxiety disorders are treatable! You can have hope.
How to Treat Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety treatment usually consists of some combination of medications and therapy.
The medications used in the treatment of anxiety usually are one of the following types:
Benzodiazepines are short-acting medications and as such are prone to causing addictions. But since they are short-acting, they also act quickly and so can be prescribed on an as-needed basis.
The other medications are slower acting and can take some time to build up to therapeutic levels in your body. Because of this, it is usually prescribed on a certain schedule, and you may not see results for several weeks.
Medications are prescribed by a doctor or a nurse practitioner and can be used in conjunction with talk therapy. I would not generally recommend using medications alone because I believe that anxiety is a disorder that is really responsive to talk therapy and so for some people, medications may not even be needed to see results.
There are many different types of therapy that can be used to treat anxiety including:
cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)
Talk therapy is proven to be effective in the treatment of anxiety, especially CBT and ACT. In therapy, you will learn about your particular condition, what triggers you, and hopefully some coping skills to manage your symptoms.
If you would like to talk with someone about anxiety treatment, I’d love to hear from you and offer a free 15-minute phone consultation. Please follow the link.