Treatment for Anxiety and Stress
Anxiety and stress disorders are conditions that can seriously affect a sufferer’s health, sense of wellbeing, ability to function day-to-day, and quality of life. Fortunately, however, there are options available to manage and treat these conditions.
What is an anxiety disorder?
Anxiety disorders come in different forms, including:
- Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) – constant irrational worry or over- concern about just about anything from health, workplace issues, finances, and family members, to wars and world hunger.
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) – fears marked by repetitive patterns of behaviour.
- Social anxiety disorder – fear of social situations, or extreme and debilitating shyness.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – involves reliving traumatic events in the mind months or years after occurrence.
- Panic attacks – feelings of terror and doom accompanied by shaking, sweating and other physical sensations.
What is stress?
Simply stated, stress is an imbalance of demands made and the ability to meet them. This can be real or imagined, and imposed from without, or from one’s own thoughts and expectations. Excess stress can result in the sufferer feeling overwhelmed or out of control. If left unmanaged, stress can lead to anxiety disorders, or depression.
Management and treatment options
- Cognitive therapy – for reducing irrational catastrophic-type thoughts.
- Relaxation techniques –meditation, deep breathing, and muscle relaxation.
- Behaviour therapies – confronting phobias head-on in order to desensitise.
- Stress-management – improvements to work/life balance, setting boundaries and learning assertiveness.
- Hypnotherapy – reprogramming of the mind while at lower frequencies.
- Medication – may be necessary in certain circumstances.
Evidence of mind-treatment methods
A meta-analysis of 36 random-control trials cited in the Depression and Anxiety Journal in 2012 showed that meditative techniques were effective in reducing anxiety
symptoms. Other research reveals that mindfulness-based stress-reduction methods can significantly reduce distress for people in stressful situations.