Anxiety disorder treatment is conducted through a combination of therapeutic and pharmacological measure. The types of therapy and medication employed are usually dependent on the size and type of disorder. In addition, the effects of an anxiety disorder can be highly personalized, requiring a good deal of observation and assessment of the patient's reactions and progress in the initial stages of therapy. Doctors use this information to adjust the treatment by altering medication dosages, changing medications altogether, and suggesting alternative approaches in therapy.
There are two main types of psychotherapeutic approaches utilized in anxiety disorder treatment. Behavioral therapy combats anxiety by isolating unwanted behaviors associated with the disorder. An attempt is then made to pinpoint the specific actions that allow these unwanted behaviors to emerge. An effort is then made to consciously change those actions in everyday life, as a means of curbing the onset of anxiety-related behaviors.
Other Types of Anxiety Disorder Treatment
Another type of anxiety disorder treatment is cognitive therapy. Cognitive therapy is especially effective in dealing with panic and social anxiety disorders. This treatment assists individuals in recognizing the thinking patterns that deter them from overcoming the fears that induce anxiety. Because there is a tendency among people who suffer anxiety disorders to attribute extreme health impairments to the physical symptoms of anxiety (for example, mistaking a panic attack for a heart attack), the attacks themselves often become a source of anxiety. Cognitive therapy helps a patient to recognize these inconsistencies, and understand how they can be brought about by their own thinking. Then, in conjunction with behavioral therapy, the patient can begin to alter the ways of thinking that lead to such situations.
Prescription medications are also often used for anxiety disorder. Neurological transmitters known as serotonin have been linked to occurrences of mood disorders such as depression and anxiety disorders. The inconsistent or excessive production of serotonin in the brain has been shown to be responsible for many of the effects of anxiety. Antidepressant medications, particularly those acting as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, counter anxiety disorder symptoms by regulating and monitoring the production of these chemicals. However, medication alone is rarely, if ever, the solution to anxiety disorder. Medication allows the patient to curb the debilitating effects of the disorder so that they may fully benefit from therapy.