The symptoms of an anxiety disorder can be debilitating: sleepless nights, racing thoughts, panic attacks that strike out of nowhere. Fortunately, anxiety is a highly treatable condition. A study conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health found that over half of all patients who received therapy for anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions experienced significant improvement in their symptoms.
With such a high success rate, it’s surprising to note that many people still do not seek out therapy because of perceived stigma. Some people are ashamed of seeming “weak” or “broken,” while others are afraid of what therapy may entail. The truth is, there are innumerable benefits to therapy for anxiety and mental health – starting with a vastly improved quality of life.
Why do people seek out therapy?
Generally speaking, people seek out therapy because they’re struggling in some way and they need help. Since everyone’s struggle is unique, the specific reasons vary from person to person, but some themes include:
Loneliness: Human beings are social creatures. Feeling isolated and alone can negatively impact your wellbeing, including your mental health. Additionally, symptoms of anxiety or depression may further drive you away from others, creating a self-perpetuating cycle of loneliness that can seem impossible to break.
Out-of-control thoughts: Anxiety is characterized by excessive worry and spiraling thoughts, causing distress and discomfort in all parts of your life. When anxious thoughts get out of control, they can severely impact your ability to work, maintain relationships, or take proper care of yourself.
Insomnia: Many mental health conditions, including anxiety and depression, are associated with restlessness and sleep problems. Furthermore, poor-quality sleep exacerbates symptoms of these conditions, creating a vicious cycle.
Substance abuse: People who struggle with mental health issues will often self-medicate with drugs and alcohol, both masking and be deepening their suffering.
Why does therapy work? Therapy isn’t about venting or providing a quick fix; it’s about working through your problems to find effective, long-term solutions. Among other things, a reputable course of therapy provides you with:
Self-awareness: A big part of therapy is seeking out the root cause of your problems. By unearthing and resolving long-standing issues, you can start to conquer the sources of your anxiety or depression and gain insight into why things are the way they are.
Healthy habits: Therapy teaches you to change your negative thought patterns and replace them with healthy, productive ones. Additionally, you learn to establish new habits that support a healthy lifestyle.
Coping skills: To deal with the onset of symptoms, or to avoid symptoms before they start, you’ll need to develop some ways to cope with the stress and anxiety of daily living. Therapy helps to identify skills that will work for you.
What are some different types of mental health therapy?
Effective therapy isn’t a one-size-fits-all treatment. Different conditions require different approaches. Available therapeutic options include:
Psychotherapy: In either a one-on-one or a group setting, patients spend time talking with therapists to identify fears, define goals, and strengthen interpersonal relationships.
Cognitive behavioural therapy: Also known as CBT, this combines talk therapy and behavioural therapy to change dysfunctional thinking and develop problem-solving strategies.
Medication: Sometimes, medication can help ease the symptoms of anxiety and depression to help you gain stability. Medication can be a short-term or a long-term solution, depending on what you and your therapist decide.
Tarikh Input: 04/10/2022 | Kemaskini: 13/10/2022 | aslamiah
Universiti Putra Malaysia, 43400 UPM Serdang ,Selangor