How We Can Help
Anxiety Treatment Information
Often the most effective treatment for anxiety disorders is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy combined with medication. At IU Health Behavioral Health, our psychiatrists and therapists collaborate on a multidisciplinary treatment plan specific to your individual symptoms.
- Medicines. You may not start out using medicines, but if you and your physician are unable to manage your symptoms in other ways, it may be recommended. Medicines used to treat anxiety include anti-depressants, anti-anxiety drugs and beta-blockers. Anti-depressants help you think more clearly, and are indicated for effectively treating anxiety disorders. Anti-anxiety drugs can be helpful in treating panic disorder and generalized anxiety disorder, but they are not intended for long-term use. Beta-blockers are more commonly used to treat heart conditions, but they can prevent the physical symptoms that go along with an anxiety disorder, especially a social phobia.
- Medication management. Our psychiatrists are medical or osteopathic doctors specially trained to prescribe psychiatric medicines. You may see an IU Health psychiatrist on your first appointment, or you may be referred to one by of our psychologists or licensed clinical social workers if they think medication would be helpful in managing your anxiety. After you start taking a psychiatric medicine, you will follow up with your psychiatrist to see how you are doing. Your prescription may change based on your experience with it. All of our psychiatrists answer their own calls, and you are encouraged to reach out to them at any time if you have concerns about reactions to your medication. Our psychiatrists continue to provide medication management as you continue working with your therapist in counseling.
- Psychotherapy. Therapy sessions with a psychologist or masters-level therapist can teach you about monitoring and managing your body’s anxiety symptoms.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). This is the most recommended form of treatment for anxiety. You actively work with your therapist to examine the relationships among your thoughts, feelings and behaviors and what leads to anxiety-causing situations. You learn how you can modify your thinking patterns to improve coping. In many ways, CBT is focused on symptom management. This therapy often includes exposure techniques designed to make you comfortable in situations that cause anxiety. Gradual exposure or flooding can lessen the anxiety you feel.
- Individual therapy. In sessions with your mental health provider, you work to understand why you think and act in ways that are troubling to you or others. This helps you regain control of your behaviors and learn skills to make changes in your actions.
- Interpersonal therapy. Your therapist can assist you in improving your interpersonal skills. Humans are social creatures. By learning how to interact with others, you can recover from anxiety and social phobias.
- Group therapy. By meeting with others who share your condition, you will gain ongoing support. You are able to share and gain skill and resources for long-term management of recovery. Group therapy, which is primarily psycho-educational in its approach, is highly effective because it lets you know you are not alone.
- Exercise. When you get moving, your body releases endorphins in your brain, which fights feelings of anxiety and depression. Exercise is a natural anti-depressant. Yoga is especially helpful for anxiety.
- Sleep. Sleep is critical to turning off your brain and stopping that negative-thought loop. If you can regulate your sleep, you can often diminish up to 50 percent of your symptoms.
- Complementary treatments. Taking care of yourself includes being kind to your whole being. Complementary services such as mindfulness and massage aid you in calming your mind.
- Relaxation techniques. If you can get your body to relax, you can stop the cycle of anxious thoughts leading to physiological responses. Guided imagery, visualization and biofeedback teach you to relax your muscles.
- Psychological testing. If needed, a variety of tests may be used to confirm a diagnosis, rule out certain conditions or uncover other issues. Tests, like the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory and the Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory, help you and your therapist determine what’s really going on. Psychological testing provides information used to determine the best treatment for your situation.
Anxiety Locations & Physicians
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Find a Specialist
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Anxiety Support Services
Learn more about anxiety treatments at these websites:
A Sampling of Anxiety Support Services
National Institute of Mental Health
A scientific organization dedicated to the research and understanding of anxiety disorders and all mental illness.
National Alliance on Mental Illness
This is a large, national, grassroots mental health organization. Its website offers extensive information about treatments, support and research for anxiety and other mental illnesses for the individual as well as family members.
Anxiety and Depression Association of America
This nonprofit organization is focused on education, training and research related to anxiety disorders and depression.
Mind Over Mood: Change How You Feel by Changing the Way You Think
Dennis Greenberger, Christine Padesky
Guilford Press, 1995
Recommended reading:When Panic Attacks
Harmony; Reprint edition 2007
Workbook for adults:
The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook
New Harbinger Publications, 2011
Workbook for adults:The OCD Workbook
Bruce Hyman, Ph.D., LCSW
New Harbinger Publications, 2010
Workbook for kids:
What to Do When You Worry Too Much
Magination Press 2005
Workbook for kids:What to Do When Your Brain Gets Stuck
Magination Press 2007