Anxiety Treatment: Therapy, Medications And Other Techniques
Anxiety is our body’s way of telling something is not correct. It keeps us alert by protecting us from impending danger and prepares us to remain alert. However, for some people, anxiety is continuous and irrational. It could be so overwhelming that it interferes with simple everyday activities. Such interruptions could be damaging to one’s mental health. The World Health Organisation reported that around 264 million people worldwide suffer from anxiety disorders. Read further to know about various anxiety disorder treatment approaches and commonly prescribed anti anxiety meds.
Types Of Anxiety Treatment:
There are several approaches for anxiety disorder treatment, including psychotherapy, anxiety medications and alternative therapies. Read further to understand each anxiety treatment in detail.
1. Psychotherapy approaches for anxiety:
a. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT):
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is a highly effective and lasting anxiety treatment. Its primary focus is to understand and change the thinking and behavioural patterns. In this anxiety treatment, your mental health professional will work with you to find unhealthy thought patterns that could destroy your beliefs and behaviours. During your therapy session, you will learn specific skills that you need to practice regularly to see improvement.
The skills that you learn during this therapy will be helpful throughout your life that help you to have a sense of control and support over your recovery. Depending on the individual, it takes 12-16 weeks to show visible changes.
b. Exposure therapy:
Exposure Therapy is a form of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy where you will be exposed to anxiety-triggering situations or objects where you learn to become less sensitive over time.
c. Acceptance and commitment therapy:
Acceptance and commitment therapy involves learning about mindfulness and behaviour change. In this therapy, you will learn a few techniques to focus on the present moment. This makes you cope with unwanted thoughts and feelings and helps you see your problems more clearly.
d. Dialectical behavioural therapy:
Dialectical behavioural therapy is a modified form of cognitive behavioural therapy. It is a combination of cognitive-behavioural techniques, concepts from eastern meditation and acceptance therapy. This therapy will be carried out individually or in groups to learn mindfulness and gain skills to tolerate distress and control your emotions.
In this anxiety disorder treatment, your therapist will work with you to make you learn acceptance of uncomfortable thoughts and feelings instead of struggling with them. You will eventually understand that once you know to validate your thoughts, feelings and behaviours, your transformation goals no longer seem impossible.
e. Interpersonal therapy:
Interpersonal therapy focuses on the relationships one has with others. It is a short-term psychotherapy that typically involves 12-16 one-hour sessions weekly. In this anxiety treatment, your mental health practitioner will collect details regarding the nature of your mental health issue.
Your mental health practitioner will teach you to evaluate how you interact with others. As a result, you become aware when you isolate yourself or find it difficult to understand others. In this technique, you will also learn how to deal with other people in the best way possible and improve your interpersonal skills.
2. Commonly prescribed Anti Anxiety Meds:
Your mental health practitioner might prescribe anxiety medications either alone or along with psychotherapy. There are various groups of medications that have proven effective for anxiety treatment. Let’s look at some currently prescribed anti anxiety meds:
a. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors:
Some of the effective medications used for anxiety disorder treatment under this category are:
- Fluoxetine – 20-60mg/day
- Sertraline – 50-200mg/day
- Citalopram – 20-40mg/day
- Escitalopram – 10-20mg/day
- Paroxetine – 20-60mg/day
- Paroxetine ER – 27-75mg/day
- Fluvoxamine – 100-300mg/day
b. Selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors:
- Duloxetine – 30-60mg/day
- Venlafaxine – 75-300mg/day
- Desvenlafaxine – 50-100mg/day
c. Tricyclic antidepressants:
- Clomipramine – 100-250mg/day
- Imipramine – 100-300mg/day
- Desipramine – 100-200mg/day
- Nortriptyline – 50-150mg/day
The benzodiazepines are preferred medications as they help provide rapid relief from panic and anxiety than other antidepressants.
- Clonazepam – 1-2mg/day
- Alprazolam – 1-4mg/day
- Lorazepam – 2-6mg/day
- Chlordiazepoxide – 20-100mg/day
- Oxazepam – 30-60mg/day
Monoamine oxidase enzyme is present in the brain, intestine, placenta, liver and platelets.
- Phenelzine – 30-90mg/day
f. Mixed antidepressants:
- Mirtazapine – 15-45mg/day
- Trifluoperazine – 2-6mg/day
- Olanzapine – 5-15mg/day
- Quetiapine – 50-300mg/day
h. GABAergic drugs:
- Pregabalin – 150-600mg/day
- Gabapentin – 600-2400mg/day
- Propranolol – 60-120mg/day
- Hydroxyzine – 25-100mg/day
3. Alternative medicines for anxiety disorder treatment:
There is an increasing interest in complementary and alternative medicines to treat various mental health problems. If you do not want to take conventional methods of anxiety disorder treatment, you can opt for alternative anxiety medications. Some of the alternative anxiety treatment methods include meditation, massage therapy, energy therapy, naturopathy, homoeopathy and traditional Chinese medicines.
Complementary anxiety treatment methods include aromatherapy to reduce discomfort. This method is used along with standard forms of anxiety disorder treatment. In contrast, alternative medicine is used to replace traditional therapy. Acupuncture and yoga are other effective options for anxiety treatment.
a. Deep brain stimulation:
Deep brain stimulation is an anxiety disorder treatment method for patients with severe obsessive-compulsive disorder who do not respond to other anxiety treatments.
This is a surgical approach to anxiety treatment. A surgeon will implant electrodes to a specific part of the brain and connect them to collarbones injected with pulse generators. This pulse generator contains a battery and a microchip that regulates brain stimulation.
b. Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR):
In this therapy, your mental health practitioner will guide you to move your eyes from side to side while processing the anxiety-provoking thoughts. This treatment directly affects the way your brain processes information and reduces the intensity of your anxiety triggering thoughts.
Relieve Yourself From Anxiety:
All your worries won’t go away on their own. If your symptoms are not treated at the right time, they may get worse. Please seek the help of your doctor or a mental health provider at the earliest. Getting help early to get treated quickly.