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Anxiety can be been explained as “the body’s automatic fight-or-flight response that is triggered when you feel threatened, under pressure, or are facing a challenging situation.” It is the body’s natural response to stress. While experiencing mild, and/ or fleeting symptoms of anxiety is unavoidable, when pervasive anxiety interferes with one’s ability to function in daily life it may be indicative of an anxiety disorder. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) asserts: “Anxiety disorders are a group of related conditions, each having unique symptoms. However, all anxiety disorders have one thing in common: persistent, excessive fear or worry in situations that are not threatening.” There are currently five distinct types of anxiety disorders listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5). Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health concern in the America. Over 40 million adults in the U.S. (19.1%) have an anxiety disorder and approximately 7% of children aged 3-17 experience issues with anxiety each year. Empirical data suggests that anxiety disorders are most effectively treated with psychological therapy, pharmacotherapy, or a combination of both.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is the first-line treatment for anxiety and is considered to be most effective form of psychotherapy for anxiety disorders, according to the Mayo Clinic. CBT is based on the notion that one’s thoughts govern one’s feelings, which are directly linked to and influence one’s behaviors. Cognitive behavioral therapy relies on a goal-oriented approach to hone healthy coping mechanisms for reducing anxiety and stress. It focuses on challenging and changing unhelpful cognitive distortions and behaviors, improving emotional regulation, and developing personal coping strategies to problem solve effectively. CBT aims to help people break unhealthy behavioral patterns by identifying and replacing dysfunctional patterns with positive thinking patterns. Through addressing and actively working on adapting unhelpful and inaccurate thoughts and feelings that lead to repeated harmful behavior choices, a person can learn to replace the damaging thought processes with healthier behaviors and more positive emotions, rather than succumbing to anxiety. Overtime, the goal is that through rewarding oneself for making healthier choices the negative internal dialogue will quiet and a more positive internal dialogue will become automatic.

Further Information and Support

For most of us, life can be very stressful, leading us to feel emotionally charged, which can cause anxiety, panic attacks, depression, and getting stuck in a cycle of being burdened with negative thoughts. Navigating through the challenges and emotional turmoil of life can be overwhelming, but you do not have to go through it alone. Engage Treatment is a Joint Commission Accredited professional psychological practice. We specialize in treating children, teens, and young adults struggling with depression and anxiety through community-focused treatment plans that incorporate a carefully selected combination of therapeutic interventions. Our compassionate, multidisciplinary practitioners are devoted to providing the highest quality of care that helps ignite positive change and enables clients to reach optimal health and well-being. Please do not hesitate to reach out for guidance. We are happy to answer questions and provide you with any additional information. Feel free to call us at 805-497-0605 or email us at [email protected]. You are also welcomed to get in touch by filling out our contact form. We look forward to connecting and having the opportunity to discuss how we might best be able to support you.

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