What Can You Do
Treatments for Anxiety
Lifestyle Changes & Social Support
Adopting healthier habits in our day-to-day.
With anxiety, the aim is to control the anxiety so that it does not control you. Our lifestyle and support networks affect our mental health significantly.
Behaviors such as substance misuse and alcohol worsen symptoms of anxiety. For example, someone might use alcohol to deal with social anxiety. This might lead to the person feeling depressed after the event, which can increase the anxiety before another one. This therefore leads to more probability of the person using alcohol to cope, leading to a vicious cycle.
It is therefore important to avoid using drugs and alcohol to deal with anxiety. On the other hand, research has shown that symptoms of anxiety are alleviated when we adopt healthier habits such as exercising and improving our diet.
Moreover, our social support networks are important, as they can either facilitate or impede the process of seeking help. It is crucial that we surround ourselves with individuals who are there for us and listen to us. This allows us to open up about our struggles and talk openly.
Mindfulness & Meditation
Sitting still, grounding and relaxation techniques.
Exploring your past, understanding your present and looking forward to the future.
Therapy is one of the treatment options when it comes to anxiety. It can help the person change the way they think and reduce irrational fears.
In therapy, the individual builds a strong therapeutic relationship with their therapist and explores how their mental health is impacting their daily life, with the aim of reducing the impairment the condition can cause. There are several talk therapies, and nowadays individuals also have the option for e-therapy.
Different modalities offer different approaches and perspectives. The most important factor across different approaches is the relationship you develop with your therapist. Every therapist’s approach will be unique, and the therapeutic relationship is crucial for therapy to be effective. It is for this reason that you need to make sure you feel comfortable with your therapist.
The person together with the therapist explores what is happening in the person’s life. You might want to discuss any current difficulties you are experiencing, or use this opportunity for self-growth. You might want to improve your communication patterns or make sense of events which have happened in your life.
In cases where the person is diagnosed with a disorder, therapy can help to explore any stressors or triggers, and how the symptoms are impacting the individual’s quality of life. Together with the therapist, the individual then learns how to respond healthily to the thoughts that were previously difficult to deal with.
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is based on the concept that thoughts, feelings, physical sensations and actions are interlinked, and that negative thoughts and feelings can trap the person in a vicious cycle. CBT helps the individual to deal with problems in a more positive way by breaking them down into smaller parts. The person is shown how to change these negative patterns into more positive ones to improve the way they feel. CBT deals with the current problems of the individual and helps the person to improve their state of mind through practical ways that they face daily.
Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing Therapy particularly helps persons who are suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). It is based on the concept that symptoms of PTSD result from past disturbing experiences that continue to cause distress because the memory was not adequately dealt with. These unprocessed memories are understood to contain the emotions, thoughts, beliefs and physical sensations that occurred at the time of the event. When the memories are triggered, these stored disturbing elements are experienced and cause the symptoms of PTSD and/or other disorders.
Systemic Family Therapy
Systemic therapy seeks to address people both on an individual level as well as people in relationships, dealing with the interactions of groups and their interactional patterns and dynamics. Systemic therapy is effective for children’s and adults’ difficulties, both when individuals have acquired a mental health diagnosis and when there is more general or complex distress. It is effective across the lifecycle, spanning developmental stages from under-fives to old age. Working therapeutically with individuals together with their families and/or significant others enables the use of individuals’ relationships as a resource and reduces stress and difficulties for all family members. Systemic therapy has also been found to be particularly effective during severe and complex disorders requiring extensive treatment.
Understanding the chemicals in the brain.
Medication can at times be prescribed to help with the symptoms of anxiety, however it is often most effective when partnered with therapy with a psychologist or psychotherapist. It is essential that medication should never be used as the first port of call. You are strongly recommended to evaluate all other possible options and solutions before resorting to medication.
In fact it is only when medication is prescribed too quickly and too freely that we strongly suggest other solutions are first sought out. In today’s world everything can be fixed with a pill, this is a huge misconception and one that can often create more harm then good. So evaluate your options carefully, exercise all your available resources and act cautiously before taking any decisions.
If medication proves to be your option then be sure to work with both a psychologist and a psychiatrist who jointly assess your condition, and work conjunctively to ensure you deal not only with the medical condition, but also the underlying psychological states of being that manifest themselves as a result of the condition.
One of the medical treatment for anxiety is antidepressant medication, even if they are not experiencing symptoms of depression. Research suggests that certain antidepressant medication can help correct the chemical imbalance in the brain caused by anxiety.
Benzodiazepines are also commonly prescribed for people with anxiety. They are not recommended for long-term use, but can help in the short-term.
What are the side effects?
Antidepressants can make you feel better, but they won’t change your personality or make you feel happy all the time. Like taking any other medication, some people will experience some side effects, and individuals should discuss the risks and benefits with their doctor. People should also ask for information about the medications so that they can make an informed decision.
Depending on which medication is taken, common side effects can include nausea, headaches, anxiety, sweating, dizziness, agitation, weight gain, dry mouth and sexual difficulties (e.g. difficulty becoming/staying aroused).
Some of these symptoms can be short-lived, but people who experience any of these symptoms should tell their doctor, as there are ways of minimizing them. The likelihood of a particular side effect happening varies between individuals and medications. It is important to highlight that no one should stop medication without consulting a doctor, as this can cause adverse reactions.
How long would I be taking medication for?
Similar to all other medicine, medication would need some time to work and be effective. Some might benefit from medication over a short period of time. For others, medication might be needed it over the long term, the same way as someone who has diabetes needs to maintain their condition by taking insulin.
It is important to note that medication should not be started or stopped without medical supervision or guidance. Finding the right treatment for you is something you can do with the help of a trusted GP or psychiatrist. Discuss any concerns or queries, such as questions on side effects, with the professional in order to decide on the best route for you.