Treatment of Anxiety Disorder

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1. Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) Treatment

The two main treatments for GAD are psychotherapy and medications. Your doctor may prescribe a combination of both treatments.Therapists often use an approach called cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, to treat generalized anxiety disorder.This popular form of psychotherapy — which is used for a variety of psychological disorders — helps people identify, understand, and change the thoughts and behaviors that contribute to their condition.

Through CBT, people with GAD learn to:

  • Recognize and address overestimation of the severity of situations (the feeling that minor problems will become much worse)
  • Enhance their problem solving skills
  • Reduce their worry-related behaviors
  • Improve relaxation to reduce muscle tension
  • Better deal with intense negative mental images

A number of different medications may be used to treat GAD, including:

 Generalized   Anxiety Disorder  Diagnoses  (GAD)

As with other anxiety disorders, there’s no specific test to diagnose generalized anxiety disorder.Your doctor may conduct a physical examination and order blood tests to exclude other possible causes of your symptoms.A diagnosis of generalized anxiety disorder is based on both your psychological and physical symptoms.According to the American Psychiatric Association’s diagnostic criteria, you have GAD if you’ve had difficult-to-control, excessive worry — more often than not — for at least six months, and experienced at least three of the following six symptoms:

  • Restlessness or edginess
  • Becoming easily fatigued
  • Difficulty concentrating, or feeling as if your mind has gone blank
  • Irritability
  • Muscle tension
  • Sleep issues

Your symptoms must also be severe enough to impair your ability to go about your daily life, and must not be due to substance abuse or other disorders or health issues.

2.  Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder OCD Treatment

Taking care of yourself every day is important in dealing with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). This includes taking your medicines as directed every day and doing the homework your therapist gives you to do at home, such as self-directed exposure and response prevention exercises. With exposure and response prevention therapy, you repeatedly expose yourself to an obsession, such as something you fear is contaminated, and deny yourself the ritual compulsive act, which in this case would be washing your hands.

It’s also important to involve family members and loved ones in your treatment, especially if your doctor suggested that you participate in therapy together. Keeping lines of communication open may help you deal with relationships that have become strained during your illness.

Reducing overall stress in your life, although not proven treatment for OCD symptoms, may help you cope. Tips to relieve stress and anxiety include:

  • Taking slow, deep breaths.
  • Soaking in a warm bath.
  • Listening to soothing music.
  • Taking a walk or doing some other exercise.
  • Taking a yoga class.
  • Having a massage or back rub.
  • Drinking a warm, nonalcoholic, non-caffeinated beverage.

Eating a healthy, balanced diet and avoiding certain foods or drinks may also help you reduce stress.

  • Avoid or limit caffeine. Coffee, tea, some soda pop, and chocolate contain caffeine. Caffeine can make stressful situations seem more intense. If you drink a lot of caffeine, reduce the amount gradually. Stopping use of caffeine suddenly can cause headaches and make it hard to concentrate.
  • If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation. If you are feeling very stressed, you might be turning to alcohol for relief more often than you realize. If you drink, limit yourself to 2 drinks a day for men and 1 drink a day for women.
  • Make mealtimes calm and relaxed. Try not to skip meals or eat on the run. Skipping meals can cause your blood sugar to drop, which will make other stress-related symptoms worse, such as headaches or stomach tension. Eating on the run can cause indigestion. Use mealtime to relax, enjoy the flavor of your meal, and reflect on your day.
  • Avoid eating to relieve stress. Some people turn to food to comfort themselves when they are under stress. This can lead to overeating and guilt. If this is a problem for you, try to replace eating with other actions that relieve stress, like taking a walk, playing with a pet, or taking a bath

    3. Panic Disorder Treatment

    To find out whether you have panic disorder, your doctor will give you a physical exam and order blood tests to rule out other possible causes of your symptoms, such as thyroid issues.Your doctor will then give you a psychological examination — which may consist of a mental health questionnaire — or refer you to a mental health professional, who will make a diagnosis based on your symptoms.It’s important to know and record your symptoms to get an accurate diagnosis.

    Some research suggests that people may see 10 or more doctors before being diagnosed with panic disorder, according to the American Psychological Association.Panic disorder is most often treated with psychotherapy, which can have several goals, including:

    • Identifying possible panic attack triggers
    • Breaking up fearful situations into smaller, more manageable parts
    • Developing techniques to better deal with panic attacks, such as breathing retraining exercises and positive visualization
    • Being exposed to specific symptoms of an attack in order to learn how to prevent a full-blown attack

    Medications — including anti-anxiety, antidepressant, and sometimes anti-seizure drugs — are sometimes also used to help treat panic disorder.

Cognitive behavioral therapy for panic attacks and panic disorder

Cognitive behavioral therapy is generally viewed as the most effective form of treatment for panic attacks, panic disorder, and agoraphobia. Cognitive behavioral therapy focuses on the thinking patterns and behaviors that are sustaining or triggering the panic attacks. It helps you look at your fears in a more realistic light.

For example, if you had a panic attack while driving, what is the worst thing that would really happen? While you might have to pull over to the side of the road, you are not likely to crash your car or have a heart attack. Once you learn that nothing truly disastrous is going to happen, the experience of panic becomes less terrifying.

Exposure therapy for panic attacks and panic disorder

In exposure therapy for panic disorder, you are exposed to the physical sensations of panic in a safe and controlled environment, giving you the opportunity to learn healthier ways of coping. You may be asked to hyperventilate, shake your head from side to side, or hold your breath. These different exercises cause sensations similar to the symptoms of panic. With each exposure, you become less afraid of these internal bodily sensations and feel a greater sense of control over your panic.

If you have agoraphobia, exposure to the situations you fear and avoid is also included in treatment. As in exposure therapy for specific phobias, you face the feared situation until the panic begins to go away. Through this experience, you learn that the situation isn’t harmful and that you have control over your emotions.

4.Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder PTSD Treatment

Post-traumatic stress disorder treatment can help you regain a sense of control over your life. The primary treatment is psychotherapy, but can also include medication. Combining these treatments can help improve your symptoms by:

  • Teaching you skills to address your symptoms
  • Helping you think better about yourself, others and the world
  • Learning ways to cope if any symptoms arise again
  • Treating other problems often related to traumatic experiences, such as depression, anxiety, or misuse of alcohol or drugs

You don’t have to try to handle the burden of PTSD on your own.

Psychotherapy

Several types of psychotherapy, also called talk therapy, may be used to treat children and adults with PTSD. Some types of psychotherapy used in PTSD treatment include:

  • Cognitive therapy. This type of talk therapy helps you recognize the ways of thinking (cognitive patterns) that are keeping you stuck — for example, negative beliefs about yourself and the risk of traumatic things happening again. For PTSD, cognitive therapy often is used along with exposure therapy.
  • Exposure therapy. This behavioral therapy helps you safely face both situations and memories that you find frightening so that you can learn to cope with them effectively. Exposure therapy can be particularly helpful for flashbacks and nightmares. One approach uses virtual reality programs that allow you to re-enter the setting in which you experienced trauma.
  • Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR). EMDR combines exposure therapy with a series of guided eye movements that help you process traumatic memories and change how you react to them.

Your therapist can help you develop stress management skills to help you better handle stressful situations and cope with stress in your life.All these approaches can help you gain control of lasting fear after a traumatic event. You and your mental health professional can discuss what type of therapy or combination of therapies may best meet your needs.You may try individual therapy, group therapy or both. Group therapy can offer a way to connect with others going through similar experiences.

Medications

Several types of medications can help improve symptoms of PTSD:

  • Antidepressants. These medications can help symptoms of depression and anxiety. They can also help improve sleep problems and concentration. The selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) medications sertraline (Zoloft) and paroxetine (Paxil) are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for PTSD treatment.
  • Anti-anxiety medications. These drugs can relieve severe anxiety and related problems. Some anti-anxiety medications have the potential for abuse, so they are generally used only for a short time.
  • Prazosin. If symptoms include insomnia with recurrent nightmares, a drug called prazosin (Minipress) may help. Although not specifically FDA approved for PTSD treatment, prazosin may reduce or suppress nightmares in many people with PTSD.

You and your doctor can work together to figure out the best medication, with the fewest side effects, for your symptoms and situation. You may see an improvement in your mood and other symptoms within a few weeks.Tell your doctor about any side effects or problems with medications. You may need to try more than one or a combination of medications, or your doctor may need to adjust your dosage or medication schedule before finding the right fit for you.

5.Social Anxiety Disorder(SAD) Diagnoses and Treatment

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 36 percent of people with social anxiety disorder live with symptoms for at least 10 years before seeking help.

Diagnosis of the disorder is based on your signs and symptoms, but your doctor will also conduct a physical exam and order blood tests to rule out other possible causes of your symptoms.Social anxiety disorder is typically treated with psychotherapy or medications, or a combination of both.One type of psychotherapy — called cognitive behavioral therapy — has been shown to be very effective for social anxiety and other anxiety disorders.

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