Anxiety disorders affect almost 6.8 million adults in the United States, but only around 43% of them receive treatment. While certain factors, such as a lack of insurance coverage, can contribute to this low percentage, many people simply don’t realize that effective therapies can significantly reduce their symptoms and improve their quality of life.
One such therapy is called cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and it’s one of the most widely used treatments for both anxiety disorders and depression. In fact, CBT is a first-line anxiety treatment, which can be used with or without medications. This therapeutic approach uses mindfulness techniques to train you to modify your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
Our providers at Alpha Care Medical, with offices in Seaford, Millsboro, Harrington, and Dover, Delaware, are experts in providing psychiatric and behavioral health services. In this blog, we explain what CBT is and how it can help treat anxiety.
How CBT treats anxiety
When you have anxiety, your thoughts and emotions are often filled with persistent worry. While everyone experiences worry or dread from time to time, an anxiety disorder can affect you daily and continually impact how you make decisions. You might experience some physiological symptoms, too, such as sweaty palms, trembling, and a racing heart.
Cognitive behavioral therapy involves taking inventory of negative thought patterns. These could be specific sources of worry, fear, dread, or stress. You then learn to recognize and restructure those thought patterns in ways that allow you to change the ways you feel and behave.
For example, if social situations ramp up your anxiety, your provider might encourage you to reframe how you approach upcoming events. Instead of thinking that you’ll have trouble socializing, you could instead view upcoming events as opportunities to connect with people and make new friends. By changing your initial thoughts, you may be able to change your feelings and behaviors.
Long-term improvements come with time
Cognitive behavioral therapy isn’t just about one type of circumstance. As you engage in cognitive behavioral therapy over time, you can learn to recognize big-picture thought patterns and address them when they come up. Soon, altering your thought patterns, emotions, and behaviors can become automatic.
Furthermore, depending on your personal needs and the type of anxiety you have, your provider might encourage you to:
- Practice mindfulness meditation
- Expose yourself to settings that initially make you feel uncomfortable
- Learn and utilize relaxation exercises
- Write down your anxious thoughts when they appear
- Keep a journal
- Practice role-playing
All of these exercises can contribute to long-term improvements in your anxiety symptoms, so you can feel more confident and comfortable in your day-to-day life.
Find out if CBT is right for you
If you suffer from anxiety, cognitive behavioral therapy may be able to help you live life to the fullest. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone with Alpha Care Medical today.