Thanks to advances in medical science and research, there are several therapies and medications available today for anxiety attacks. Among these, behavioral therapies have gained a good deal of public attention and interest. There is a growing belief that since anxiety attacks are psychological disorders more than anything else, it makes sense to treat them through behavioral therapies. In this article, let’s look at two such therapies that more and more medical practitioners are advocating and practicing: Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy and Exposure Therapy.
: It is a type of therapeutic treatment in which the counselor works with the patient by helping him/her become aware of negative or inaccurate thinking and how it affects the psyche. Even though this therapy is short-term, it is known to help patients in dealing with challenging situations effectively. A lot of people relate to CBT as something that deals with mental health. That is not always the case, though. It has also been very successful in building confidence in people who falter in or cannot respond to stressful situations.
The underlying principle behind CBT is that anxiety and stress stem from our thoughts. A good example of this is a person who thinks a lot about negative situations like being trapped in a fire and therefore gets hysterical at the mere sight of fire and light. CBT strives to make such people realize that there are things and situations beyond their control in life and nothing can be done about them. However, what can be done is taking control of your life and deal with fears rather than running away from them.
The reasons behind CBT’s increasing popularity is low cost and higher percentage of results. Because CBT is a short-term therapy, it is affordable and there are a lot of trained counselors who are doing a great job healing people.
Exposure Therapy: Another very effective therapy that has shown great results over the years with anxiety disorders is what is known as the Exposure Therapy. This sort of behavioral therapy uses a mechanism in which the patient is subjected to an object of fear time and again (in a way that it does not harm the patient) so as to help get rid of the fear. This constant exposure helps the patient and his or her brain to understand that the fear is irrational and without any substance. Exposure therapy has also been instrumental in treating Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and phobias.
This is how Exposure therapy works: The moment we sense or perceive danger, our brain sends us a signal triggering an immediate response. The part of our brain responsible for this trigger is called the amygdala. The amygdala is designed to make us react quickly in dangerous situations with an obvious aim to save ourselves. However, as is natural, this trigger works for both situations: when we are truly in danger and when we perceive ourselves to be in danger. Exposure therapy’s objective is to re-train this part of the brain by triggering the amygdala regularly using exposure to our fear. We then face the fear before it finally vanishes.
Both these therapies have worked wonders for the patients of anxiety disorders, and there are no surprises as to why they remain the most sought after treatments when it comes to anxiety.