Anxiety is more than just worrying — it may keep you up at night, stop you from trying new things, reduce your ability to function at school or work, impair relationships with friends or loved ones, and create physical discomfort or ailments. That said, there’s a lot you can do to help manage anxiety.
With the right support and tools, it’s certainly possible to improve your battle with anxiety. However, if you’ve never experienced treatment before, you might feel apprehensive about where to start. In this article, we’ll help you determine when anxiety treatment is appropriate and how you can take the first steps toward feeling better.
When is Anxiety Treatment Needed?
Anxiety is a normal part of life — we all feel anxious once in a while. Yet, if anxiety has begun to interfere with your daily responsibilities or functioning, it may be time to explore professional resources. For example, if anxiety prevents you from attending social events or taking part in activities you enjoy, seeking support from a therapist can help to ease the worries and fears that hold you back.
Although anxiety is treatable, a 2021 study published in the Community Mental Health Journal showed that about 40% of individuals with anxiety never consider seeking treatment. However, if you relate to the above, we encourage you to reach out and learn more.
Will Anxiety Go Away Without Treatment?
Anxiety can go away without treatment. However, untreated anxiety can also get worse. In many cases, anxiety may come in waves, with certain situations exacerbating it or deterring it. Learning tools and techniques to help you manage and cope better can prevent those anxious thoughts and feelings from getting the upper hand.
What Are Common Anxiety Treatment Options?
Anxiety treatment options include therapeutic, pharmaceutical, and natural approaches. Depending on the severity and type of anxiety you’re experiencing, you may find that one or a combination of these approaches works best for you. In the following sections, we take a closer look at each of these options.
Therapeutic Approaches for Anxiety
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is the most widely used approach to treat anxiety. CBT can help you challenge certain thoughts, which then may alter feelings and behaviours accordingly. This type of therapy is best suited for those with generalized anxiety, panic, or social anxiety.
For phobias, your psychotherapist may also use exposure therapy, which helps individuals face their fears and eliminate them. In most cases, multiple sessions of therapy are necessary to see noticeable improvements.
Pharmaceutical Approaches for Anxiety
Depending on the severity or type of your anxiety, you and your doctor may also explore medication as a viable treatment path. This may go hand-in-hand with a therapeutic approach.
Commonly prescribed medications for anxiety include SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), which may take some time to notice improvements. Your doctor may also prescribe certain medications with sedative effects, like benzodiazepines or pregabalin, which help promote feelings of calm and quell anxiety. Other medications may include tricyclic antidepressants, which also boost serotonin in the brain, and buspirone, which alters the brain chemicals and makes you feel less anxious. Your physician will provide you with options, based on your circumstances, health and medical history.
Natural Treatment for Anxiety
Along with therapy and medication, your psychotherapist or physician may recommend adding natural approaches to reduce anxiety. This may include:
- Dietary changes
- Lifestyle changes (daily movement, exercise)
- Stress reduction techniques (meditation, deep breathing, etc.)
- Avoiding or limiting alcohol and drugs
- Limiting caffeine intake
- Learning time management strategies
What Happens If Anxiety Goes Untreated?
When anxiety isn’t treated, it may begin to have further implications. A major problem with anxiety is that it can start to restrict one’s life, leading to increased unhappiness and further anxiety. In some cases, this anxiety may start to cause panic attacks. This happens because your brain’s stress pathways continually get reinforced, strengthening the connection between neurons and causing anxiety to increase.
How Do I Determine the Right Anxiety Treatment?
Anxiety treatment is unique to each individual and their specific situation. For instance, some medications can have side effects, making them not ideal for some. Others might also find that simply changing aspects of their lifestyle gives way to various improvements.
The best way to determine the right anxiety treatment for you is to take the first step. This might mean changing your lifestyle or booking an appointment with your practitioner. It may also mean scheduling a session with a caring and compassionate psychotherapist, such as our team at Bhatia Psychology Group.
Together, we can help you overcome anxiety and start living the life you want. Contact us today for more information or to book an appointment.