- Not all types of treatment for anxiety are created equally. What works for one person might not work for another.
- Part of anxiety treatment requires testing out different options to find the most effective strategies for you.
- The treatment options discussed below are most effective in a clinical setting.
- Related reading: Practical strategies to deal with anxiety right now.
The 5 Most Effective Types of Treatment for Anxiety
When treating anxiety in a clinical setting, keep an open mind as you explore different recovery options. Not all treatment options are created equally, and what works for one person does not always work for others. At the same time, no single treatment option is going to eliminate anxious thoughts overnight. Recovery often requires a blend of treatment modalities for anxiety, and that blend is often unique to the individual.
In our experience, the most effective anxiety treatment plans generally include a combination of these five strategies:
1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Cognitive behavioral therapy might sound complex, but the goal is simple: giving individuals perspective to view life events in a more positive manner. CBT is effective at treating a wide range of mental issues, and it provides short- and long-term benefits for most forms of anxiety. In 69 clinical trials, CBT has been associated with improved treatment outcomes with benefits that last even after treatment has ended.
This is because CBT helps individuals learn skills and tools that they can use without a therapist. By transforming thought patterns and mental associations, CBT helps individuals struggling with anxiety see how their own thinking is harming them so they can redirect their energy in a more productive manner.
2. Exercise, Yoga, and Breathwork
While strategies for treating anxiety like exercise, yoga, and breathwork can be practiced outside of a clinical setting, they can build on and reinforce the skills learned during treatment.
The treatment environment can also provide a safe setting for individuals to experiment with activities they may not have been comfortable trying on their own.
Again, anxiety is best treated with a multifaceted approach. There is not one specific treatment to make anxiety go away. Instead, it requires a holistic approach, and practicing physical techniques can provide a well-rounded perspective to transform negative thought patterns.
3. Art Therapy
When anxiety is rooted in past trauma or memories, art therapy is an ideal tool for working through those issues. It offers an opportunity for individuals to practice self-regulation, and it creates a safe space for expressing feelings that may have been hidden just beneath the surface.
Creating art also helps individuals become more aware of what they are feeling inside by bringing it forward. When people look at their artwork, they notice what they are feeling in their bodies, and it can help them get in touch with how they are really feeling.
A preliminary study from 2019 showed a significant reduction in anxiety as well as an increase in subjective quality of life and emotional regulation in women aged 18 to 65 with the effects remaining after a three-month follow up.
4. Group Therapy
Group therapy might sound intimidating when someone is struggling with anxiety, but discussing shared challenges with like-minded individuals has tremendous therapeutic value. Hearing the perspective of others can also help individuals put words to their inner feelings, and with time, encourage them to open up about their own issues.
5. Medication Management
When medication is necessary, its use needs to be managed and monitored carefully to ensure optimal treatment outcomes. Medication is not always necessary for treating anxiety, but when it is, it can come with risks.
In our experience, the long-term use of benzodiazepines for treating anxiety is actually more harmful than helpful. Benzodiazepines are extremely addictive and not very effective at treating anxiety. Withdrawals can be worse than with opioids. Additionally, inappropriately medicating an individual can exacerbate symptoms of anxiety.
Medication management mitigates those risks while making sure an individual can sustain a state of well-being even after treatment ends. Like treatment itself, it may require some experimentation to find the right regimen for recovery. However, medication should not be viewed as a long-term therapeutic treatment for anxiety but instead as a tool to get to a point where they can heal underlying issues.
Why do anxiety and depression tend to go hand-in-hand? Over time, anxious thought patterns can fuel feelings of hopelessness and loss of control that may develop into depression. Learn More About the Connection
Does My Anxiety Require Treatment?
You might be wondering how you can tell if your anxiety may require treatment or not. The good news is that not all forms of anxiety require formal treatment. If you are not sure whether you need professional help, try out these practical strategies to deal with anxiety right now.
If none of those work, it could be a sign that you may have a more serious issue with anxiety, and seeking professional guidance is the next step.
Can PCH Help?
Whether you have been formally diagnosed with anxiety or you are still searching for answers, PCH is here to help. If you still have questions about treating anxiety, reach out to our team.