Anxiety Therapy in Charlotte: How to find Local Support
Occasional nervousness is an expected part of life. It’s normal to feel nervous before giving a presentation or making an important decision. However, when excessive anxiety and panic disrupt your daily life and feel difficult to control, you may have a diagnosable mental health condition.
Whether you’re experiencing apprehension or feeling overwhelmed with fear, you’re not alone. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), anxiety disorders are one of the most common mental health conditions, affecting 19.1 percent of adults in the United States in the past year. Fortunately, help is available for individuals with anxiety disorders.
Types of Anxiety Disorders
There are several types of anxiety disorders, including panic disorder, phobias, and social anxiety, each with unique diagnostic criteria under the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). Different types of anxiety disorders include:
- Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Panic disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Phobia-related disorders
- Separation anxiety disorder
- Specific phobias
- Social anxiety disorder (social phobia)
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, many individuals with anxiety disorders also experience co-occurring mental health conditions, such as major depression, substance use, and bipolar disorder. If mental health symptoms interfere with your daily life, seeking professional help is the first step toward feeling better.
Signs and Symptoms of Anxiety
Many individuals with anxiety disorders experience both psychological and physical symptoms. Although the specific symptoms of anxiety vary depending on the particular mental health condition, some common signs of anxiety include:
- Feelings of nervousness or restlessness
- Excessive worry, intense fear, or dread
- Increased heart rate
- Fatigue and lethargy
- Headaches or muscle tension
- Avoidance of a feared situation, such as social interactions
- Increased irritability
- Sleeping issues, such as insomnia
- Digestive problems, such as nausea
- Difficulty focusing
- Panic attacks
- Intrusive thoughts (obsessions) and/or compulsions
Treatment Options for Anxiety Disorders
Psychotherapy, also known as “talk therapy,” is a key component of successful anxiety treatment. Psychotherapy involves speaking with a trained psychologist, counselor, social worker, or therapist in a safe and confidential space. During therapy sessions, clients explore their mental health issues, behaviors, feelings, or relationships while their mental health provider provides insight.
Some common types of therapy used in the treatment of anxiety disorders include:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT): Cognitive-behavioral treatment combines cognitive therapy and behavioral therapy to help individuals navigate the relationship between their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. CBT is an effective treatment in a wide range of mental health conditions, including mood disorders, eating disorders, and anxiety disorders, according to a meta-analysis by Hofmann et al.
- Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT): While DBT incorporates many principles of CBT, it focuses on validation, or accepting difficult thoughts, instead of struggling with them. After coming to terms with difficult emotions and behaviors, you’ll be able to work with your psychologist to create an effective treatment plan.
- Exposure therapy: Exposure therapy is commonly used to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, and phobias. During therapy sessions, you’ll gradually confront your triggers and learn different ways to cope with anxiety.
- Interpersonal therapy (IPT): IPT focuses on interpersonal relationships to help individuals improve their communication skills, relate to others, and manage emotions in daily life.
- Psychodynamic psychotherapy: Psychodynamic therapy, an in-depth treatment, helps individuals recognize negative patterns of behavior and feelings that are rooted in past experiences. During therapy sessions, your psychologist will ask open-ended questions and use free association to help you dive into your mental health concerns.
Although therapy is the first-line treatment for anxiety disorders, supplementing your treatment plan with medication and lifestyle changes can also help improve your quality of life and improve your anxiety symptoms. Some additional treatment options for anxiety include:
- Pharmacotherapy: Many individuals with anxiety disorder benefit from a combination of medication and therapy that’s specifically geared towards anxiety symptoms. Some types of medications commonly prescribed in the treatment of anxiety include anti-anxiety medications and benzodiazepines. Your psychiatrist may also recommend antidepressants, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), or tricyclic antidepressants, to treat anxiety symptoms and related mental health conditions.
- Support groups: In addition to therapy, support groups can serve as a valuable component of an effective treatment plan. Support groups can help individuals with mental illness bond over shared experiences and find new ways to cope with anxiety.
- Regular check-ups: Because the symptoms of anxiety are often similar those of physical health conditions, especially in older adults, it’s important to visit your primary care provider for regular appointments. Your clinicians will review your medical history to determine the best treatment plan.
- Mindfulness and relaxation techniques: Incorporating regular meditation and mindfulness into your daily life is an effective way to promote relaxation and lower stress levels, according to Ratanasiripong et al.
- Lifestyle changes: Eating a balanced diet, getting enough sleep, and avoiding anxiety triggers (such as caffeine or nicotine) can help reduce symptoms of anxiety, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Before incorporating any herbal supplements or vitamins into your diet, be sure to talk to your psychiatrist about potential adverse medication interactions and side effects.
Anxiety Therapy in Charlotte
Starting therapy for anxiety can feel intimidating, especially if you’re already feeling overwhelmed with anxiety symptoms. Because therapy is a deeply personal experience, it’s essential to find a therapist you feel comfortable talking to about complex thoughts and emotions.
When you’re ready to take the first step, reach out to a mental health professional through The Therapy Group of Charlotte. We’ll connect you to a compassionate therapist you feel comfortable with, regardless of your personal preferences and requirements. One of our experienced mental health providers will help you navigate your mental health concerns and establish a treatment plan that will help you to live a happier, healthier life.