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Techniques Used by Experts for Anxiety Treatment

Experts have developed several techniques that are used for treating anxiety disorders. Some of these therapies work better than others, but some people may respond well to one technique over another. These five techniques will help individuals learn how to address their anxiety more effectively by using different treatments.


Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)


It is the most widely studied form of psychotherapy for various mental health problems. It involves a combination of behavioral therapy and cognitive therapy to treat an individual's phobias, depression, substance abuse issues, eating disorders, or other mental conditions. CBT is effective with panic disorder patients when compared to no treatment at all. CBT has also been found to reduce the rate of future panic attacks and reduce anticipatory anxiety and avoidance behavior.


Exposure and response prevention (ERP)


It is a type of CBT that forces individuals to confront their fears to reduce or eliminate them. That is effective with those suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), social phobia, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The first phase involves the client being exposed to the object or place that makes them anxious and using relaxation exercises to reduce anxiety. Once this stage has been achieved, the client then does not perform rituals or routines associated with their anxiety disorder. Since one of the main reasons for developing an anxiety disorder is avoiding the object/situation that makes you anxious. To improve and get better, one must learn how to face it.


Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)


It is a newer psychotherapy treatment for treating anxiety disorders. Some experts believe that when we experience a trauma such as an accident, the memory of this event is not properly processed by the brains and can be responsible for certain fears like social phobias or PTSD. EMDR works by having the client recall memories associated with their traumatic experiences while tracking eye movements with their therapist; this is said to "process" these memories and reduce future anxiety symptoms. A meta-analysis of six studies using EMDR found it to be just as effective as CBT.


Hypnosis


Hypnosis is another relaxation technique that can be used for anxiety treatment. While hypnosis is not an effective form of treatment, according to the British Psychological Society, it may work for some individuals who are highly responsive to this form of therapy by altering their perceptions and attention skills. Since it works best with high hypnotic abilities, not everyone will respond well to hypnosis, and other treatments should always be explored first.


Yoga and meditation


Research has shown that practicing yoga or meditation regularly can improve your mood, reduce stress, and prevent future panic attacks. Exercise such as yoga decreases activity in the sympathetic nervous system (the system in your body which is responsible for the "fight or flight" response) and increases activity in the parasympathetic nervous system (the system that controls relaxation). It has been found to have a similar effect on blood pressure as anti-hypertensive medication. Yoga has also been effective as a treatment for those suffering from anxiety disorders and those who have insomnia. In addition, yoga may help improve symptoms of depression and reduce cortisol levels in women with elevated morning levels, thus decreasing their risk of developing anxiety disorders later on.


These five anxiety treatments can be used by themselves or together to treat different types and severities of anxiety. Experts recommend beginning with whichever type you feel most comfortable with and seeing how it works for you. If there is no improvement or your symptoms become worse, treatment should be discontinued, and another form of therapy explored.


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