According to the National Institute of Mental Health, Anxiety is the most prevalent mental health difficulty in the United States, affecting an estimated 40 million Americans. Despite the fact that numerous scientific studies have proven that psychotherapy and certain medications are effective treatments, only an estimated 1/3 of individuals suffering from anxiety will ever seek help.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders - DSM-5 (The resource psychologist, psychiatrist, and other mental health therapist use to diagnose mental health conditions) states that Anxiety is comprised of the following symptoms: Excessive anxiety, worry, apprehension, difficulty controlling your worrying, restlessness, being easily fatigued, difficulty concentrating, irritability, muscle tension, and sleep disturbances. An accurate diagnosis will depend on the particular symptoms experienced and their duration.
Some subtypes of Anxiety that individuals may experience are: Social anxiety, Specific Phobias, Agoraphobia (fear of being in a place where escape may be difficult or embarrassing), Panic Disorder, Acute Stress Disorders, Separation Anxiety Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.
Numerous research studies have proven that psychotherapy is an effective treatment for anxiety. Of these, Cognitive-Behavioral therapy (CBT) has proven to be a well-established, highly effective, and lasting treatment. CBT focuses on identifying, understanding, and changing thinking and behavior patterns. Other effective psychotherapies are Behavior Therapy, Cognitive Therapy, and Systematic Desensitization.
Behavior Therapy uses techniques to reduce or stop the undesired target behaviors that are associated with anxiety. For example, one approach involves training patients in relaxation and deep breathing techniques to counteract the agitation and rapid shallow breathing that accompany certain anxiety disorders.
Cognitive Therapy helps patients understand how their thoughts contribute to their symptoms of anxiety. Cognitive Therapy helps individuals change thoughts patterns, in turn reducing anxiety. Individuals become cognitively aware and are able to have an increased sense of control over their symptoms.
Systematic Desensitization has proven effective for lessoning or eliminating specific phobias.
Systematic Desensitization teaches an individual to relax as they are gradually exposed to the feared object or situation. Beginning sessions typically teach an individual to meditate or relax while thinking of the feared object/situation. Latter sessions typically involve gradual increased exposure to the feared stimulus while maintaining a sense of relaxation.
Other proven methods for reducing anxiety are: Exercise, meditation, solution focused techniques, certain medications, mindfulness, and stress management.
For more information on Anxiety please visit the National Institute of Mental Health at: