Is Counseling Good for Anxiety?
Going back 50 years, anxiety was a rather unknown disorder that probably didn’t even have a name at the time. Over the years, anxiety awareness has revolutionized the way the disorder is recognized and treated.
There is nothing taboo about suffering from anxiety. In fact, over 18% of the U.S. adult population suffers from some form of anxiety. While some treatments are effective, others are not. This is where counseling for anxiety is different. It offers consistently positive results in managing the condition.
Learn more about how counseling for anxiety could change your life…
What is Anxiety? Understanding the Disorder
Anxiety is not just prevalent in adults, children are also largely affected by the disorder. While the general symptoms of anxiety are pretty similar, not all forms of anxiety are created equal. Here are some of the different variations of anxiety disorders:
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
PTSD can develop after you experience severe trauma of some kind. This could be physical or emotional. Common symptoms include flashbacks, night terrors, and night sweats. Not-to-mention negative thoughts that replay over and over. These symptoms tend to spill over into a person’s everyday life and can affect their well-being and relationships with others.
Social Anxiety Disorder
Also known as social phobia, this is characterized by an irrational fear of social situations. People with this disorder feel embarrassed and judged by others, inducing social anxiety. Symptoms include nervousness in social settings, feeling self-conscious, and fear of rejection.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
This disorder is characterized by persistent and uncontrollable thoughts, routines and rituals. The behavior of someone with OCD is obsessive and compulsive. It can have a serious impact on mental and emotional well-being.
This a more severe form of anxiety, typically characterized by recurrent panic attacks. Symptoms of panic attacks include profuse sweating, trembling, loss of breath, feeling choked, and intense feelings of dread. These attacks tend to come on suddenly and are difficult to control.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
GAD is based on feelings of persistent worry or anxiousness about events that one may not be able to control. Most people suffer from stress and worry. But those with GAD worry in excess about their health, finances, work, etc. They live with a general sense that something bad is always about to happen. Common symptoms include irritability, restlessness, difficulty concentrating, sleep irregularities, muscle tension, and aggression.
Can Counseling For Anxiety Actually Help?
Due to the recognition and prevalence of cases of anxiety, it has become a major industry today. The number of anxiety cures and medications on the market today are too many to count. But many of these medications and so-called ”cures” have adverse side-effects. Some are also expensive and, quite simply, do not offer a long-term solution.
This is where counseling comes in to change the game. Counseling for mental health has been around for decades and some of the most popular forms include:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Holistic therapy
- Psychodynamic therapy
- Gestalt therapy
- Existential therapy
- Dialectical Behavior therapy
Not all of these types of counseling are effective for anxiety, but most notably, CBT is known to deliver the best results.
The Effect of Counseling on Anxiety
Despite the fact that there are so many different types of anxiety orders known today, most of them are driven by the same processes.
That is, people with anxiety are easily overwhelmed by their emotions. They tend to have negative reactions to those feelings and different situations. This leads to avoidance behavior. Essentially, a person will avoid all anxiety-inducing situations altogether. In terms of managing anxiety, this is probably the worst thing you can do to overcome the disorder.
This is where the expertise of a counselor comes into play. They specialize in diagnosing anxiety disorders and teach patients healthier ways to cope.
How Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Works
With the use of CBT, a counselor helps their patient to identify and manage all the factors that cause and contribute towards their anxiety.
CBT teaches people to understand how their thoughts are the catalyst to most anxiety symptoms. They are taught to change their thought patterns. This helps to reduce the prevalence of symptoms, anxiety attacks, OCD tendencies, etc.
There is also an important behavioral aspect of CBT. It teaches patients how to control negative, unwanted behavior often associated with anxiety. This includes avoidance, reclusive behavior.
In fact, patients are actually encouraged to approach situations they would normally avoid. This helps them to realize that feared outcomes are not likely to materialize. Thereby taking control of their thoughts and actions.
Factors That Influence the Efficacy of Counseling
It’s worth noting that while CBT is considered an effective form of counseling, it may not always be 100% successful for everyone. Each case of anxiety is different. Therefore it’s important to try different forms of therapy to suit your personal case.
There are also a number of factors that could influence how effective CBT is for a patient:
- The type of therapy — as mentioned, CBT does not always suit everyone
- Commitment to counseling — consistent counseling for anxiety is key. It takes work and dedication from both counselor and patient
- The type of therapist — it’s important to build a strong connection with your therapist, based on trust.
Yes, finding the right therapist is not always easy. It’s largely a case of trial and error and finding someone you feel confident and comfortable with. Do not settle. If you don’t have a solid relationship from the start, this could hinder your anxiety management — and that’s the last thing you want!
Learn to Manage Your Anxiety with Us
Looking for an experienced counselor to help you get your life back on track? If you suffer from anxiety, Watson Psychological Health Center is here for you.
We use cutting-edge therapies to help you manage your mental health and find your way back to yourself. Learn more about our specialized counseling therapies today…