Consider exposure therapy. Exposure therapy helps you to face the fears that cause you to feel anxious. Over time, you may increase the intensity of your exposure or face your fears for longer periods of time. As a result, your fears and anxiety levels should improve.
- For example, if you are afraid of flying, then you might begin by imagining that you are in an airplane. Over time, you might work up to visiting the airport, taking a short flight, and then, as a final goal, taking a cross-country or overseas flight.
Try cognitive therapy. Cognitive therapy focuses on changing your thoughts and behaviors in order to reduce your anxiety. By going through cognitive therapy with a licensed mental health professional, you identify, challenge, and replace the negative thoughts that cause you to feel anxiety.
- For example, you might find that you often think to yourself, “I am going to fail,” and this thought may cause you to feel anxious. With cognitive behavioral therapy, you will learn to identify this thought as it occurs and challenge the thought or change it into something positive, such as “I am going to do my best.”
- Cognitive therapy is something that you should only undergo with a licensed therapist. Ask your therapist about using cognitive therapy as part of your treatment plaYou should only undergo exposure therapy with the guidance of a licensed therapist. If your fears cause you to feel anxiety, then talk to your therapist about incorporating some exposure therapy into your treatment program.
Seek help from a therapist. If your anxiety is interfering with your daily life, then it might be a good idea to seek the help of a mental health professional, such as a counselor or therapist. Talk therapy is an effective way to reduce anxiety and to learn effective tools for handling anxiety-provoking situations.
- For example, you may want to seek therapy if you have been withdrawing from your friends and family, avoiding certain places out of fear, or having a hard time focusing on work or school because of your anxiety.
Ask about medications. There are several different types of medication available for anxiety, which you may want to consider if you have trouble controlling your anxiety by other means. Keep in mind that you will have to see a psychiatrist (a medical doctor who specializes in psychiatry) to obtain medication for anxiety. Some medications you may consider include:
- Benzodiazepines. These are the most common anti-anxiety medications. They work fast to reduce anxiety, but they can be habit forming. It is best to use these medications for severe anxiety only. Some benzodiazepines include Xanax, Valium (diazepam), Klonopin , and Ativan (lorazepam).
- Antidepressants. Some antidepressants can help to reduce anxiety, but these take about four to six weeks to start working. Some common antidepressants that can help with anxiety include Zoloft (sertraline), Paxil (paroxetine), Prozac (fluoxetine), Lexapro (escitalopram), and Celexa (citalopram).