If you suffer from panic attacks, obsessive thoughts, unrelenting worries, or an incapacitating phobia, you may have an anxiety disorder. But you don’t have to live with anxiety and fear. Treatment can help, and for many anxiety problems, therapy is a good place to start. Certain types of therapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy and exposure therapy, are particularly beneficial. These therapies can teach you how to control your anxiety levels, stop worrisome thoughts, and conquer your fears.
When it comes to treating anxiety disorders, research shows that therapy is usually the most effective option. That’s because anxiety therapy—unlike anxiety medication—treats more than just the symptoms of the problem. Therapy can help you uncover the underlying causes of your worries and fears; learn how to relax; look at situations in new, less frightening ways; and develop better coping and problem-solving skills. Therapy gives you the tools to overcome anxiety and teaches you how to use them.
The anxiety disorders differ considerably, so therapy should be tailored to your specific symptoms and concerns. If you have obsessive-compulsive disorder, your treatment will be different from someone who’s getting help for anxiety attacks. The length of therapy will also depend on the type and severity of your anxiety disorder. However, many anxiety therapies are relatively short-term. According to the American Psychological Association, many people improve significantly within 8 to 10 therapy sessions.