Anxiety: How can counseling help?

We all feel anxious, unsettled, or fearful from time to time. Anxiety is a natural and normal reaction to stressful situations. However, for some people, this feeling is not temporary. They have persistent anxiety and it doesn’t get better on its own. It can severely impact their ability to function in school, at work, or in everyday social situations. Anxiety can also affect relationships and severely impact the quality of life.

If you too are suffering from obsessive thoughts, panic attacks, crippling phobia, or unrelenting worries, you are not alone. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, and affect 40 million adults age 18 and older, or 18.1% of the population each year. Though, there are effective treatments for anxiety, only 36.9% of those suffering receive treatment.

Therapy or counseling is an effective treatment for anxiety disorders. If you are experiencing persistent anxiety, a counselor may be able to help you identify, manage, and alleviate your symptoms.

Seeking therapy for your anxiety

A counselor can help you understand why you feel the way you do, what causes that feeling, and what you can do to change your reaction to these negative thoughts. They may even teach you some practical techniques to help change your behavior. The choice of therapy depends on the individual’s symptoms and diagnosis.

The most common type of therapy used to treat anxiety disorders is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). It relies in the concept that our thoughts and not external events affect the way we think, feel, and behave. CBT aims to identify problematic thoughts and beliefs, challenge them, and replace them with healthier, more constructive thoughts and beliefs. It is an effective treatment for a wide range of mental health issues including generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and more.

Exposure therapy is another commonly used therapy that exposes the person to feared situations or objects. With repeated exposure, the person feels a better sense of control over situation that cause fear or anxiety.

The therapist may use other types of therapies as well depending on the severity of the symptoms and diagnosis.

What to expect from counseling?

When you go for counseling, please keep in mind that you may not immediately start to feel better. Depending on the individual and the severity of symptoms, sometimes, this may happen. However, in most cases, you won’t. In fact, as you explore your anxiety and fears deeper and delve into the reasons behind it, you may experience a temporary increase in your anxiety levels. However, eventually, as you and your counselor have a few sessions together, you will learn how to control what’s happening and develop tools to overcome anxiety.

You may find yourself more empowered to do the things you have always wanted to do. With better control over your anxiety, you will be able to make better decisions and have more control over your life. Remember, counseling is not a quick fix. It’s a process that is unique to every individual.

Final thoughts

Anxiety symptoms can be overwhelming and may impair your day-to-day functioning. It can also cripple your self-confidence. If you are struggling with excessive and persistent anxiety, it would help to see a counselor. With counseling, you will be able to overcome your anxiety, manage symptoms, and improve your quality of life.