One of the most common mental health concerns is anxiety. However, not everyone who could benefit from treatment receives the help they need. Effective treatment for anxiety can involve a range of therapy programs, including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). This therapeutic approach support clients in developing appropriate behaviors to manage their mindset and emotions so that they can live happier, healthier lives.
Types of Anxiety
Anxiety takes shape in many ways. For some, it is characterized by panic attacks, while for others, they feel scared to enjoy everyday activities. Anxiety can be so debilitating for some people that they are unable to enjoy life and often remain homebound. CBT for anxiety supports people in learning how to manage their feelings appropriately so that they can reach their goals.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is when a person feels a sense of dread or overall anxiety and it impacts their daily life. When someone experiences GAD, it can happen frequently for several months or years. The most common symptoms of GAD include:
- Feeling restless or on-edge
- Unexplained pains, headaches, stomach aches
- Uncontrolled worry
CBT can help with this form of anxiety by helping clients build healthy coping skills to manage these daily symptoms.
Panic disorders are characterized by panic attacks. These attacks can occur frequently or without warning. When a panic attack occurs, a person will experience severe fear or discomfort. They will also feel like they have no control over themselves, even when there is no imminent danger present. During a panic attack, a person will experience:
- A racing heart
- Chest pain
While some people will experience panic attacks frequently, for others, it will happen only a few times a year. Either way, using CBT for anxiety is effective for panic disorders as it helps people learn several strategies to counteract their fears.
Social Anxiety Disorder
This type of anxiety involves a consistent fear of being scrutinized by others. People with social anxiety disorder fear social situations because they believe they have no control over anything. This impacts their ability to attend school, complete daily tasks or even work.
People with social anxiety disorder may experience:
- Blushing or sweating
- Inability to make eye contact
- Struggling to be in new settings with people they do not know
- Racing heart
- Feeling judged by people
CBT supports healing from social anxiety disorders by helping clients recognize why they respond they way they do.
Phobia Related Disorders
These anxiety disorders are related to fears related to objects or specific situations. Phobias can include fear of heights, flying, blood, or specific animals such as spiders or snakes. People experiencing this type of phobia often feel more danger than is necessary and will:
- Show signs of excessive worrying about an object or situation
- Avoid the fears
- Feel intense fear when faced with the feared object
- Feel intense anxiety
If not treated, these phobias can have a significant impact on daily life.
How CBT for Anxiety Can Help
CBT for anxiety is an evidence-based treatment that helps people identify and overcome their fear. This type of therapy seeks to change how one thinks and feels about a feared object or situation by breaking down their anxious thoughts and replacing them with more positive ones. CBT is effective because it encourages people to take control and responsibility for their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. For anxiety in particular, CBT helps people identify their triggers, recognize the maladaptive thinking patterns that contribute to anxiety, and develop strategies for managing their fear in the future.
Get Support Through CBT for Anxiety at Greater Boston Behavioral Health
There are many types of anxiety that can impact people’s lives. However, with the assistance of medical and mental health practitioners, people with anxiety have the power to learn tools to overcome their fears.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is used to support clients with anxiety at Greater Boston Behavioral Health. In various therapeutic settings, we help our clients understand their fears and learn strategies to effectively overcome these challenges.