Five Solutions for Treating Anxiety

Five Solutions for Treating Anxiety| HealthSoul

More than 40 million adults in the United States have an anxiety disorder, such as social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, PTSD, and specific phobias.

While living with a form of anxiety can be challenging, the good news is there are multiple treatment options available.

Here are five potential solutions for treating anxiety.

1. Emotional Support Animals

While it is perhaps a lesser-known form of treatment, prescribing emotional support animals is one of the simplest and most effective methods for treating symptoms of anxiety.

Pets like dogs, cats, and rabbits are common emotional support animals, but any kind of pet can become an ESA. In order to qualify for an ESA, you must have a letter from a licensed mental health professional stating that you suffer from a mental health condition and that an ESA would be beneficial. Once you have your Emotional Support Animal letter, you can choose any kind of pet that you feel would make a good ESA.

Animals provide comfort, companionship, and unconditional love; making it easier to cope with feelings of anxiety and stress. People can become less anxious within minutes of playing with pets or stroking dogs or cats, for example.

While in theory, any animal can provide emotional support. But by formally registering an emotional support animal, you and your pet may be given certain rights under the law, depending on your jurisdiction (e.g., Fair Housing Act).

2. Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy, which is also known as psychological counseling and talk therapy, involves working with a professional therapist to help reduce the symptoms of anxiety.

It is one of the most effective treatments for anxiety disorders, but psychotherapy is an umbrella term that covers various approaches.

For instance, applied relaxation therapy is one form of psychotherapy. It involves learning how to relax muscles during times of anxiety.

But the most common form of psychotherapy for treating anxiety, and arguably the most effective, is cognitive-behavioral therapy. It involves learning specific skills to improve anxiety symptoms.

CBT can also involve exposure therapy, in which one slowly encounters situations or objects that are the source of their deep-rooted anxiety to build their confidence to overcome them and better manage symptoms.

3. Medication

While forms of psychotherapy are usually the most effective treatment for anxiety, people with anxiety disorders could be prescribed medications as well.

The precise medication will depend on the specific anxiety disorder being treated and whether the sufferer has any other mental or physical health problems. For example, buspirone is an anti-anxiety medication that is commonly prescribed to people with anxiety disorders and antidepressants are commonly used to treat anxiety disorders as well as depression.

Although less common, in certain situations, doctors may prescribe other types of medications, like sedatives or beta-blockers. Such medications can be used to provide short-term relief from the symptoms of anxiety, but they are not for long-term use.

4. Lifestyle Changes

If you suffer from anxiety, it is a good idea to try some lifestyle changes before you go down the medication route.

Various lifestyle changes can make a big difference to the symptoms of anxiety.

For instance, keeping physically active is a powerful way of reducing stress and anxiety and improving your mood. Gradually increase the amount of physical activity you do each day, and you could soon see a reduction in feelings of anxiety.

Other lifestyle changes that can help to reduce anxiety symptoms include:

  • Avoiding alcohol and recreational drugs.
  • Quitting smoking.
  • Cutting back on or quitting caffeinated beverages.
  • Eating healthily.
  • Getting enough sleep each night.

5. Learning to Be Assertive

Lastly, many people who suffer from anxiety disorders have trouble being assertive. In turn, that can lead to them feeling more anxious, and the process becomes a vicious circle.

People with anxiety may not be assertive because they do not want to hurt anyone’s feelings, they want to avoid conflict, or they wrongly feel that they have no right to speak up and their opinion is invalid.

By learning to be more assertive, people who suffer from anxiety conditions can become more confident and lessen the symptoms of anxiety over time.

So, if you have an anxiety problem and you are not assertive in your words and deeds, consider enrolling in an assertiveness class or reading books on how to become more assertive and confident.