Treatment for anxiety disorders includes psychotherapy (e.g. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), medication, or both. Your doctor will work with you to decide which option/s work best for you.1 Learn more about anxiety
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)1,2
CBT, usually short-term treatment, teaches you different ways of thinking, behaving, and reacting to anxiety-producing and fearful situations. You will learn specific skills to improve your symptoms and slowly return to the activities you avoided because of your anxiety.
Medication can help to relieve the symptoms of anxiety. Commonly used medications include anti-anxiety medications (e.g. benzodiazepines), antidepressants and beta-blockers.
These can help reduce the symptoms of anxiety, panic attacks, or extreme fear and worry. Benzodiazepines are effective in relieving anxiety and take effect quickly.
Antidepressants may help the way your brain uses certain chemicals that control mood or stress. You may need to try several different antidepressants before finding the one that improves your symptoms and has manageable side effects. They can take several weeks to start working so you would need to give the medication a chance before you and your doctor decide if it is effective in managing your anxiety or not.
These medications can help relieve the physical symptoms of anxiety e.g. rapid/fast heartbeat, shaking, trembling, and blushing. They are intended for short-term use to keep physical symptoms of anxiety under control.
Tips for coping with an anxiety disorder2
Learn about your disorder. Talk to your doctor or therapist. Find out what might be causing your specific disorder and what treatments might be best for you. Involve your family and friends and ask for their support.2
Stick to your treatment plan. Take medications as directed by your doctor. Keep therapy appointments and complete any homework assignments your therapist may give you.2
Keep a journal. Keeping track of your personal life can help you and your doctor or therapist identify what causes your stress and what seems to help you feel better.2
Take action. Learn what triggers your anxiety or causes you stress. Practice the strategies you developed with your doctor or therapist so you're ready to deal with anxious feelings in these situations.2
Learn time management techniques. You can reduce anxiety by learning how to carefully manage your time and energy.2
Socialize. Don't let worries isolate you from loved ones or activities.2
Break the cycle. When you feel anxious, take a brisk walk or engage in a hobby to refocus your mind away from your worries.2
Join an anxiety support group. Remember that you are not alone. Support groups offer compassion, understanding and shared experiences.2
Anxiety disorders. April 2022. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Available online at https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/anxiety-disorders#part_2220. [Accessed 05 October 2022].
Diagnosis & treatment. Anxiety disorders. 04 May 2018. Mayo Clinic. Available online at https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/anxiety/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20350967. [Accessed 05 October 2022].