Anxiety disorders are all similar in the fact that they are characterized by symptoms of overwhelming, debilitating, life-altering anxiety. While traditional treatments are mostly effective in helping people living with anxiety disorders manage symptoms, not everyone may get the results they need or expect with traditional treatments alone. That’s where alternative treatments for anxiety comes in to bridge the gap that traditional treatments may not cover. And, to help people who may not be able to utilize traditional treatments due to side effects or other issues. Find out more about the alternative treatments for anxiety available to determine if you should consider using these approaches in combination with your already established treatment planning.
Anxiety is a natural, human emotion that anyone can experience. It occurs when the brain detects danger and this danger stimulates the fight or flight response, resulting in floods of adrenaline or feelings of worry and stress. While anxiety is a normal response to dangerous stimuli, people who are living with anxiety disorders experience anxiety when there is no evident danger. This is believed to be the result of an overactive fight or flight response and imbalances with brain chemicals. So, if you’re experiencing feelings of worry, fear, and overwhelming stress that interrupts your daily activities and is debilitating to your life, you may be living with an anxiety disorder.
There are a number of different types of anxiety disorders. Identifying which one you may be living with can help you better pinpoint the types of treatments and therapies that are available that may be right for you. Some of the most commonly diagnosed anxiety disorders include:
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD): This type of anxiety disorder is characterized by symptoms of anxiety that are experienced for more than two consecutive weeks at a time.
Panic Disorder: This type of anxiety disorder is characterized by experiencing panic attacks, which are severe and sudden episodes of extreme anxiety. People living with panic disorder may have panic attacks due to their fear of experiencing another panic attack, which keeps the cycle of panic attacks ongoing.
Social Anxiety Disorder: People diagnosed with this type of anxiety disorder experience extreme anxiety in social situations. They may feel overwhelmed in crowded environments and isolate themselves.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD): OCD is an anxiety disorder that is characterized by experiencing both obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors. Obsessive thoughts are often intrusive and invasive thoughts that may surround sex, religion, death, etc. In attempts to control these thoughts, people with OCD exhibit compulsive behaviors like counting, excessive hand washing, etc.
Traditionally, treatment for anxiety includes a combination of behavioral therapies and prescription antidepressant medications. Behavioral therapies like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) teach people living with anxiety how to identify underlying causes of anxiety. And, provide them with toolsets in order to cope with anxiety and identify triggers to anxiety. Prescription antidepressants can help to rebalance key chemicals within the brain that are associated with anxiety levels. However, these medications may not work effectively for every person. And, some people who attempt to utilize these medications may experience unwanted side effects. Due to this issue, it can be helpful for people living with anxiety disorders to seek out alternative treatment methods for anxiety.
Some alternative treatment options for people living with anxiety disorders can include:
Holistic Approaches: Holistic approaches include treatments that are based on the belief that a person’s mind, soul, and body are all connected. Approaches like mindfulness can help a person living with anxiety disorders to better control their emotions and moods so that they can get the best out of their treatment.
TMS: Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a relatively new approach to treating anxiety that helps to stimulate areas of the brain that are responsible for mood management. This treatment approach is non-invasive and offers little risk for side effects, making it a good option for people who aren’t having success with traditional treatments like antidepressant medications.
“I feel better overall. I have learned valuable tools to help manage my issues”