Cognitive behavioral therapy is the most widely-used therapy when it comes to dealing with anxiety. This therapy is preferred in most instances because it has a lot of benefits. It’s a reliable and efficacious treatment that’s also used for a variety of other conditions.
The Leading Approaches in Treating Different Types of Anxiety Disorders
There are lots of techniques used to treat anxiety disorders. This includes treatments like psychotherapy, otherwise known as talk therapy. This approach is integral to the success of any treatment plan. There are other methods used as well, including interpersonal therapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy. Some therapists also use exposure therapy, which can be effective in some instances. All of these are proven research-based approaches to treating anxiety disorders.
While all these therapies are quite effective, anxiety disorder cognitive behavioral therapy and exposure therapy are the most widely used. They may be used alone or in combination. Also, the therapy can be conducted in groups or on an individual basis. Regardless of the approach, the goal is still the same: to calm the mind, lower anxiety levels, and reduce the patient’s fears.
What Kinds of Anxiety Disorders can Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Treat?
Cognitive behavioral therapy is one of the leading approaches in treating different anxiety disorders. It has been shown to be quite effective when it comes to the treatment of panic disorders, social anxiety disorders, phobias, and generalized anxiety disorders.
Apart from the treatment of depression and anxiety, cognitive behavioral therapy is also used to treat conditions like bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder. The research that has been done in the field of CBT shows that its use leads to a marked improvement in quality of life and functioning. There are several studies where CBT has been demonstrated to be a lot more effective than other forms of therapy and medications.
How Does CBT Work for Treating Anxiety?
The main goal of cognitive behavioral therapy for anxiety disorders is to break down the things that make you feel scared, bad, or anxious. It, therefore, makes your problems a lot more manageable. Therapists also aim to help you change your negative thought patterns, which, in turn, will improve the way you feel
When used correctly, cognitive behavioral therapy can get you to a point where you can change your own thought patterns and handle different problems without a therapist present.
What are the Benefits of CBT for Anxiety?
CBT has a lot of benefits when compared to other techniques. Here are some of the benefits of cognitive behavioral therapy.
It Gives You Hope Over Your Condition
When you are suffering from a mental health condition, you will generally start feeling a bit pessimistic about your future. It becomes so hard to think ahead to a period where your problem will no longer hinder you. Cognitive behavioral therapy changes all this. It gives you hope and makes you see that not all of your thoughts are accurate. This means you will realize that your thoughts don’t represent what will happen. When you learn to challenge your own thoughts, your mind is opened to new possibilities. You realize that life could actually be much more different.
It Helps You Develop Self Esteem
Mental conditions like anxiety can cause low self-esteem. This feeds into cycles of negative thinking and vice versa. Cognitive behavioral therapy can disrupt this pattern. It can boost confidence in your own abilities. When you start figuring out how your thoughts function and how you can control them, this changes your whole belief system, including the way you think of yourself.
CBT Can Help You Relax
The behavioral aspect of cognitive behavioral therapy helps you learn to control how you respond to triggers and symptoms. In most instances, this involves developing responses that are calmer by utilizing a variety of relaxation methods. This helps you control your responses, which reduces symptoms.
Gain Control Over Your Thoughts
One of the most significant benefits of CBT is how it can help you gain control of your thoughts. The nature of cognitive distortions is that they happen automatically. With CBT, you are taught the process of questions and replacing negative thoughts with positive ones. This will transform your thought process, giving you control over the way you think. You will no longer allow the negative thoughts to take control, meaning you can take over and think rationally. As such, it will be easier to evaluate appropriate responses to difficult situations.
Reduces Violent Behaviors
Treatment with CBT can reduce violent behaviors. Such behaviors are usually due to failure to master one’s thoughts. Since CBT can give you back control over your thoughts, it reduces the risk of violent behaviors. This treatment was shown to be quite effective in the treatment of social anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and panic disorder, all of which can cause avoidant behaviors.
Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Effective for Anxiety?
CBT is a highly effective form of psychotherapy. This treatment focuses on how your thoughts, attitudes, and beliefs can affect how you feel and behave. The thought-challenging aspect of cognitive behavioral therapy is crucial for the treatment of anxiety disorders. The heightened feelings of anxiety that one experiences are often the result of cognitive distortions.
For instance, one of the most common symptoms is ‘catastrophizing,’ or focusing too much on worst-case scenarios. CBT techniques involve behavioral components. This includes gradually exposing the patient to their fears. This helps you face your fears rather than hide from them. However, the exposure is graded, meaning you are not just thrown into the deep end. Instead, you are exposed gradually, which allows you to progress in small steps. Traditionally, cognitive behavioral therapy is done in sessions of 30 to 60 minutes for a period of up to 20 weeks. Some patients will start showing marked improvement after only 12 sessions.