Are there effective treatments available for anxiety disorders?
Absolutely. Most cases of anxiety disorder can be treated successfully by appropriately trained health and mental health care professionals.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, research has demonstrated that both "behavioral therapy" and "cognitive therapy" can be highly effective in treating anxiety disorders. Behavioral therapy involves using techniques to reduce or stop the undesired behavior associated with these disorders. For example, one approach involves training patients in relaxation and deep breathing techniques to counteract the agitation and hyperventilation (rapid, shallow breathing) that accompany certain anxiety disorders.
Through cognitive therapy, patients learn to understand how their thoughts contribute to the symptoms of anxiety disorders, and how to change those thought patterns to reduce the likelihood of occurrence and the intensity of reaction. The patient's increased cognitive awareness is often combined with behavioral techniques to help the individual gradually confront and tolerate fearful situations in a controlled, safe environment.
Proper and effective medications may have a role in treatment along with psychotherapy. In cases where medications are used, the patient's care may be managed collaboratively by a therapist and physician. It is important for patients to realize that there are side effects to any drugs, which must be monitored closely by the prescribing physician.