While an anxiety disorder may seem like the end of the world, the truth is many of these disorders respond to treatment quickly. Each anxiety disorder, as well as the level of severity seen by the patient, requires a different methodology of treatment; however, most can be treated with a combination of medication and behavioral therapy. Research is ongoing to develop new strategies for treating anxiety disorder patients.
Behavioral therapy is an integral component of any anxiety disorder treatment plan. Today most doctors focus on either exposure therapy or cognitive behavioral therapy. These two methodologies work well for a variety of disorders. A doctor will make a recommendation regarding which is more effective.
Exposure therapy is used to treat anxiety disorders that center around fear or control issues. For example, a patient who suffers from a fear of germs may work with a physician in a controlled environment to slowly increase their exposure threshold. In theory, repeated exposures will diminish the underlying phobia.
Cognitive behavior therapy is a therapy in which thoughts, as well as behaviors, are adjusted. By exploring the underlying negative thought patterns related to an anxiety disorder, a patient, in conjunction with their physician, can effectively change those negative thinking patterns.
Medication is also available to help treat many common anxiety disorders. Most physicians feel that medication is best when used in conjunction with a form of behavioral therapy. For example a doctor may prescribe an anti-depressant in conjunction with cognitive behavioral therapy to address an underlying anxiety disorder.
Some doctors feel that some specific forms of anxiety must include medication in their treatment plan. These include Generalized Anxiety Disorder and OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). Only by working with a qualified doctor is it possible to develop an effective treatment plan for an anxiety disorder.
Patients suffering from anxiety disorder are encouraged to work with a doctor to develop a treatment program that will work for them and their particular needs