Each person has their own coping mechanism when it comes to emotional stress. Unfortunately, sometimes that involves simply ignoring the problem. When it comes to anxiety issues, ignoring the situation isn’t really viable. In fact, ignoring the matter can make it worse. Receiving a confirmed diagnosis of anxiety is the first step to getting the help you need to live a normal life. Luckily, there is a wide array of options today for proper treatment. Let’s take a look at a few places to turn to when you are faced with anxiety.
Medical Doctor (MD)
You can always start with your regular physician. With some basic information, your doctor may be able to do a preliminary evaluation of what’s troubling you and causing your anxiety. It’s likely your doctor may feel comfortable prescribing a medication to see if this is something that you will respond to. Your doctor may also refer you to someone with expertise in treating anxiety – medical or non-medical.
Therapist or Psychologist (LCSW, LPC, etc.)
Sometimes people simply need someone professionally trained to listen and sort out what is causing the anxiety. Therapists and psychologists are professionals who cannot prescribe mediation but can help bring an informed perspective to what’s happening. They can help you evaluate possible solutions and continue to support and monitor your progress. As with a medical doctor, a therapist or professional counselor may feel that you would benefit from another level of care, and can make the necessary recommendations for further help.
This professional is a medical doctor with specialized training to diagnose, medicate, and manage a treatment plan for mental or emotional trauma and difficulties. They typically work in conjunction with a non-medical therapist or psychologist to ensure that medications are working and that progress is being made toward coping with your anxiety. If and when changes need to be made to your medication and/or treatment, having a psychiatrist and therapist working together can be very beneficial.
One of the non-medical routes available is cognitive therapy, focusing on changing how you think and what thoughts and beliefs may be triggering your anxiety. This therapy identifies the source of the problem and teaches various techniques to try, such as evaluating your self-talk, testing your reality, and restructuring how you think. It’s a good option for those who want to take a proactive role in their anxiety treatment.
Facing your fears is the basis for behavior therapy. You expose yourself to the situations that make you anxious and learn how to redefine them. Behavior therapy includes a multifaceted process to work through the fear. The following is an example of what you might expect in this type of therapy:
1. Rank your fears from most to least threatening.
2. Think about the least threatening of your fears and imagine yourself experiencing the situation.
3. Create a series of small steps that move you away from the fear, such as decreasing the amount of time spent in the situation.
4. Diminish the urge to flee by using breathing techniques and other suggested copying skills.
Each type of treatment is valuable in its own right. However, many who suffer from anxiety have found that a combination of treatments yields the best results. At one point, you may need to be on medication. You may then benefit from behavior therapy. Perhaps a licensed therapist will be called in to help. Medication may be monitored and changed or even dropped after a while.
It’s important to understand that no one option is better than another. They all may be used in conjunction in an individual’s case, or one option may work by itself. No matter what, your treatment will be specific to your needs. When you decide on your treatment options along with your health professionals, you will feel more in control of the outcome. And that’s exactly where you want to be when it comes to dealing with your anxiety.