Mental Health

What Is Anxiety Treatment?

Understanding Anxiety Treatment

Anxiety disorders affect a significant portion of the population, making it one of the most common mental illnesses globally. In the United States alone, approximately 19.1% of the population, or 40 million adults, experience anxiety disorders each year.

The lifetime prevalence of anxiety disorders in the United States is around 32%, with social anxiety disorder (SAD) and specific phobia (SP) being the most common types [2]. Globally, about 264 million people suffer from anxiety disorders, representing a 15% increase since 2005.

What is Anxiety Treatment?

Anxiety treatment involves various approaches to help individuals manage their symptoms effectively and improve their quality of life. The primary goal of anxiety treatment is to reduce anxiety levels, alleviate distress, and enable individuals to function better in their daily lives. Treatment for anxiety can include therapy, medication, or a combination of both.

The Impact of Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorders can have a significant impact on an individual's life, affecting their overall well-being, relationships, work performance, and academic success. Anxiety disorders can lead to work and school absences, and they have a larger cost burden than other psychiatric disorders due to their higher prevalence. It is crucial to recognize the impact of anxiety disorders and provide appropriate treatment and support to help individuals regain control of their lives.

Understanding anxiety treatment involves recognizing the importance of therapy and medication in managing anxiety symptoms. Therapy for anxiety often includes cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), exposure therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT).

These therapeutic approaches help individuals address and overcome the root causes and triggers of their anxiety, enabling them to develop effective coping strategies [3]. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is considered one of the most effective treatments for anxiety disorders, as it focuses on changing negative thought patterns and behaviors that contribute to anxiety.

Medications can also play a role in anxiety treatment. Antidepressants, anxiolytics (anti-anxiety medications), and beta-blockers may be prescribed to help manage anxiety symptoms. However, medication is not suitable for everyone and should be used in combination with therapy [4].

By understanding anxiety treatment and its impact on individuals with anxiety disorders, we can provide the necessary support and interventions to help them lead healthier, more fulfilling lives. Collaboration with healthcare providers and the integration of different treatment approaches are key to building personalized treatment plans that address the unique needs of each individual.

Conventional Approaches to Anxiety Treatment

When it comes to treating anxiety disorders, conventional approaches focus on a combination of therapy and medications. These treatment options have been proven effective in helping individuals manage and overcome their anxiety symptoms.

Therapy for Anxiety Disorders

Therapy plays a crucial role in the treatment of anxiety disorders. Various therapeutic approaches can be employed, including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), exposure therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) [3]. These therapies help individuals address and overcome the root causes and triggers of their anxiety.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is considered one of the most effective treatments for anxiety disorders. It focuses on changing negative thought patterns and behaviors that contribute to anxiety. CBT helps individuals identify and change negative thoughts, behaviors, and emotions and has been found to be effective in treating various anxiety disorders [5].

Exposure therapy is another commonly used therapeutic approach for anxiety. It involves gradually exposing individuals to the feared object or situation, helping them become desensitized to their anxiety triggers [5]. By facing their fears in a controlled and supportive environment, individuals can learn to manage their anxiety responses more effectively.

Medications for Anxiety

In addition to therapy, medications can be prescribed to help manage anxiety symptoms. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved several selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) for panic disorder (PD), generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), and social anxiety disorder (SAD). These medications work by increasing the availability of certain neurotransmitters in the brain, helping to regulate mood and reduce anxiety.

Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) were one of the first classes of medications used for anxiety disorders. While they have comparable efficacy to SSRIs, they are now less frequently prescribed due to concerns about side effects.

It's important to note that medication should be prescribed and monitored by a healthcare professional, as they can have potential side effects and interactions with other medications. The choice of medication and dosage will depend on the specific anxiety disorder and individual needs.

By combining therapy and medications, conventional approaches to anxiety treatment offer a comprehensive and holistic approach to managing anxiety disorders. It is recommended to work closely with healthcare providers to develop a personalized treatment plan that best suits your individual needs.

Complementary and Alternative Therapies

In addition to conventional approaches, complementary and alternative therapies are being considered as potential options for treating anxiety disorders. These therapies encompass various techniques and practices that can be used alongside or as an alternative to conventional treatments. In this section, we will explore three common types of complementary and alternative therapies for anxiety: complementary therapies, herbal medicine, and mind-body practices.

Complementary Therapies for Anxiety

Complementary therapies refer to treatments or practices that are used alongside conventional approaches to enhance their effectiveness or provide additional support. Some common complementary therapies for anxiety include:

  • Physical Activity and Exercise: Engaging in regular physical activity and exercise has been shown to have positive effects on anxiety. Exercise stimulates the production of endorphins, which are natural mood-boosting chemicals in the brain. It also helps reduce muscle tension and promotes overall well-being.
  • Meditation: Meditation involves training the mind to focus and redirect thoughts. It can help individuals with anxiety by promoting relaxation, reducing stress, and improving emotional well-being. Mindfulness meditation, in particular, has been found to be effective in reducing symptoms of anxiety.

Herbal Medicine for Anxiety

Herbal medicine involves the use of plant-based remedies to alleviate symptoms and promote overall well-being. While it is important to consult with a healthcare professional before using any herbal remedies, certain herbs have shown promise in the treatment of anxiety disorders.

  • Kava: Kava is an herbal medicine that has been used traditionally to promote relaxation and reduce anxiety. It has shown some support for the treatment of generalized anxiety or specific anxiety disorders. However, it is important to note that excessive or long-term use of kava may have adverse effects on the liver, so it should be used under professional guidance.
  • Ashwagandha: Ashwagandha is an herb commonly used in traditional medicine. Some studies have suggested that it may have a beneficial effect on anxiety disorders, particularly when used in combination with other naturopathic treatments. However, more research is needed to confirm its efficacy and safety.

Mind-Body Practices for Anxiety

Mind-body practices encompass a range of techniques that focus on the connection between the mind and body. These practices can help individuals with anxiety by promoting relaxation, reducing stress, and increasing self-awareness. Some common mind-body practices for anxiety include:

  • Yoga: Yoga combines physical postures, breathing exercises, and meditation to promote relaxation and improve overall well-being. It has been found to be beneficial for reducing anxiety symptoms and improving mental health.
  • Tai Chi: Tai chi is a gentle form of exercise that involves slow, flowing movements and deep breathing. It has been shown to have positive effects on anxiety by promoting relaxation, reducing stress, and improving emotional well-being.

While complementary and alternative therapies can be beneficial for some individuals with anxiety, it is important to work with healthcare providers to determine the most appropriate treatment plan. Integrating different treatment approaches, including both conventional and complementary therapies, can help individuals find a personalized approach to managing their anxiety.

Lifestyle Changes for Managing Anxiety

When it comes to managing anxiety, lifestyle changes can play a significant role in complementing other treatment approaches. Lifestyle changes are simple yet powerful tools that can help alleviate symptoms and improve overall well-being. In this section, we will explore the impact of lifestyle on anxiety treatment, as well as the importance of exercise, nutrition, and sleep.

The Role of Lifestyle in Anxiety Treatment

Lifestyle changes are an essential component of an integrated approach to anxiety treatment. While seeking professional help is advised for moderate to severe cases, lifestyle changes alone can make a significant difference in managing mild symptoms of anxiety. These changes can be especially beneficial when incorporated into daily routines.

Exercise and Anxiety

Exercise has been shown to be effective in elevating mood and reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression. Engaging in physical activity stimulates the production of serotonin and endorphins, neurotransmitters that help improve mood and reduce anxiety.

Mindful movement forms like yoga, tai chi, and qigong have also been found to have positive effects on anxiety symptoms. Regular exercise not only benefits physical health but also boosts self-esteem, confidence, and social connections, which can positively impact individuals with anxiety.

Walking is a simple yet effective exercise that can significantly reduce the risk of major chronic diseases, including anxiety and depression. Just 30 minutes of walking a day can make a difference in mental health. It is recommended to maintain a walking program for at least six months to establish long-term behavior change.

Nutrition and Anxiety

Proper nutrition plays a vital role in supporting brain function and mental health. The brain, being one of the most metabolically active parts of the body, requires a steady supply of nutrients to function optimally.

A poor diet lacking essential nutrients can potentially trigger symptoms of anxiety or depression. It is important to ensure a balanced diet that includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. This helps provide the necessary nutrients to produce neurotransmitters that support mood and overall mental well-being.

Sleep and Anxiety

Quality sleep is crucial for maintaining balanced brain function and alleviating symptoms of anxiety. During sleep, neurotransmitters needed to support mood and regulate emotions are replenished. Insufficient or poor-quality sleep can have a significant impact on mood and increase anxiety symptoms. Establishing a consistent sleep routine, practicing good sleep hygiene, and creating a relaxing sleep environment can contribute to restorative sleep and support anxiety management [6].

By incorporating these lifestyle changes into your daily routine, you can enhance your overall well-being and effectively manage anxiety. Remember that everyone's journey is unique, and it may take time to find the lifestyle changes that work best for you. It is always recommended to collaborate with healthcare providers to develop a personalized treatment plan that integrates different approaches for a holistic approach to anxiety management.

Building a Personalized Treatment Plan

When it comes to anxiety treatment, it's crucial to develop a personalized plan that considers an individual's unique needs and preferences. This involves collaborating closely with healthcare providers and integrating different treatment approaches to achieve the best outcomes.

Collaborating with Healthcare Providers

Working closely with healthcare providers is essential in developing an effective anxiety treatment plan. These professionals, including therapists, psychiatrists, and primary care physicians, have the expertise to assess and diagnose anxiety disorders. They can guide individuals in selecting the most appropriate treatment options based on their specific symptoms, severity, and personal circumstances.

Healthcare providers will conduct an initial evaluation to gather information about an individual's medical history, symptoms, and any previous treatments. They may recommend various evidence-based therapies, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), exposure therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), or dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). These therapies help individuals address and overcome the root causes and triggers of their anxiety.

In some cases, healthcare providers may also prescribe medications to manage anxiety symptoms. Commonly prescribed medications include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), benzodiazepines, and beta-blockers [3]. Medication can be used in conjunction with therapy to provide relief and support the individual's progress.

Integrating Different Treatment Approaches

Integrating different treatment approaches is often necessary to address the multifaceted nature of anxiety disorders. While therapy and medication form the foundation of anxiety treatment, complementary and alternative therapies can also play a valuable role.

Complementary therapies encompass a range of practices that can complement traditional treatments for anxiety. These include relaxation techniques, meditation, yoga, massage therapy, and acupuncture. These practices can help alleviate anxiety symptoms and promote overall well-being [4].

Another aspect to consider is lifestyle changes. Engaging in regular exercise, maintaining a balanced diet, prioritizing sufficient sleep, and practicing stress-reduction techniques can have a positive impact on anxiety management [4]. These lifestyle changes can support individuals in coping with anxiety and enhancing their overall mental health.

Integrating different treatment approaches requires open communication and collaboration between individuals with anxiety and their healthcare providers. Regular check-ins, evaluations, and adjustments to the treatment plan may be necessary to ensure that the chosen strategies are effective and aligned with the individual's goals.

By building a personalized treatment plan that combines therapy, medication, complementary therapies, and lifestyle changes, individuals can take proactive steps towards conquering their inner turmoil and managing their anxiety effectively. Remember, support from loved ones and seeking professional help, such as through CAMH (Centre for Addiction and Mental Health), can make a significant difference in the recovery process.


[1]: https://withtherapy.com/therapist-insights/how-does-therapy-help-anxiety/

[2]: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7786299/

[3]: https://docs.github.com/en/get-started/writing-on-github/working-with-advanced-formatting/creating-and-highlighting-code-blocks

[4]: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/anxiety-treatment-options

[5]: https://adaa.org/learn-from-us/from-the-experts/blog-posts/consumer/so-youve-decided-start-therapy

[6]: https://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/what-lifestyle-changes-are-recommended-anxiety-and-depression

[7]: https://www.camh.ca/en/professionals/treating-conditions-and-disorders/anxiety-disorders/anxiety---treatment/anxiety---pharmacotherapy

Contact Kiwi Recovery for a Better Approach to Anxiety Treatment

Getting started is as simple as giving our team a call. We’ll walk with you every step of the way as you navigate the treatment process. From assistance with insurance to help building a treatment schedule that fits your loved one’s life, we’re here to ensure your teen or young adult receives the care and support they need. At Kiwi Recovery, we aim to help teens and young adults with anxiety build a better tomorrow. Contact us today at 617.545.3344 or reach out online to get started. There’s a better future waiting.