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How is Anxiety Treated?: Anxiety Treatment & Therapy Options

How is Anxiety Treated?: Anxiety Treatment & Therapy Options

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What is Anxiety?

Anxiety disorders are mental health conditions marked by intense feelings of worry, anxiety, or dread that interfere with day-to-day activities.1

When faced with a challenging issue at work, before taking a test, or before making a significant decision, you could experience anxiety. You might feel more energized or able to concentrate if you’re anxious. Anxiety can be expected in demanding circumstances, such as giving a public speech or taking a test.

Anxiety is a sign of an illness when feelings are strong, all-consuming, and interfere with daily life. For some with anxiety disorders, the terror can be overwhelming and last for a long time.2 Intense, overwhelming, and ongoing apprehension about everyday events can signify anxiety.

There are several kinds of anxiety disorders, including phobia; however, the five major types of anxiety disorders are:3

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD): Chronic anxiety, excessive worry, and tension that persists without a trigger
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD): Recurring, unpleasant thoughts (obsessions) and/or repetitive actions (compulsions), including hand washing and counting
  • Panic Disorder: Abrupt, frequent, intense fear accompanied by physical symptoms such as wooziness, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, or stomach aches
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): This type of anxiety disorder can appear after exposure to a terrible experience that directly happened to you or that you witnessed. Violent personal attacks, catastrophes caused by nature or people, accidents, and military conflict are examples of traumatic events that might set off PTSD.
  • Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD): Often known as social phobia, SAD is characterized by intense self-consciousness and crippling anxiety during everyday social interactions.

Types of Anxiety Treatment

Therapy & Counseling

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): CBT is a short term treatment that targets current issues and symptoms, focuses on the connections between ideas, feelings, and behaviors, and aims to change thoughts, feelings, and behavior patterns that make it difficult to function.4
  • Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT): With this treatment, you’ll learn how to alter and refute harmful ideas about the trauma causing your anxiety.
  • Prolonged Exposure Therapy: Prolonged exposure teaches you how to gradually approach traumatic memories, feelings, and circumstances. By confronting what has been avoided, you will likely discover that the traumatic memories and cues are safe and do not need to be avoided.
  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR): This structured therapy that can last up to 90 minutes urges you to concentrate on the traumatic memory while undergoing bilateral stimulation (usually eye movements or tapping). This is linked to a decrease in the vividness and strong emotion attached to the traumatic memories.
  • Support Group: Your experiences dealing with anxiety may be helpful to other group members, just as you can learn from others via their experiences. Your sense of self-worth and confidence in your capacity to manage anxiety symptoms can rise due to being able to assist others.5

Insurance may be able to help cover the cost of therapy. Find out if your insurance provider can help with the costs by filling in our confidential insurance verification form below.

Anxiety Medications

Several different kinds of medications can help reduce anxiety symptoms:6

  • Antidepressants: Typically, medical professionals will begin with drugs that impact the neurotransmitters serotonin or norepinephrine (SSRIs and SNRIs). These drugs can help with anxiety and depression symptoms. They can also aid in enhancing attention and sleep issues. Celexa, Lexapro, Luvox, Paxil, and Zoloft are popular SSRI brands. The most popular SNRI brands include Effexor XR, Cymbalta, and Pristiq. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted SSRI approval only for the drugs paroxetine (Paxil) and sertraline (Zoloft).
  • Anti-anxiety medications: These medications can treat severe anxiety and its related issues. Since some anti-anxiety drugs have the potential for abuse, they are often only taken temporarily.
    • Benzodiazepines: Sometimes known as benzos, these are anti-anxiety drugs frequently used for their sedative properties. Xanax, Klonopin, Valium, and Ativan are common benzodiazepines.7

You and your doctor may choose the best drug to treat your symptoms and situation, aiming for the fewest adverse effects. Inform your doctor of any prescription side effects or issues. Before finding the correct prescription, you might need to try more than one, a combination of medications, or your doctor might need to change the dosage or schedule. Within a few weeks, your mood and other symptoms may improve.

Other Types of Treatment Options

Alternative treatment options, including yoga, relaxation techniques, meditation, exercise, biofeedback, hypnosis, and acupuncture, can relieve some anxiety symptoms.8 However, it’s always recommended to consult your doctor before opting for alternative treatments.

In addition, the below may also be considered for anxiety disorder treatment:

  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS):9 TMS therapy is a non-invasive procedure that stimulates the cells in a particular brain region by delivering electromagnetic impulses using an electromagnetic coil. This therapy regulates the activity in other areas of the brain, possibly restoring them to baseline. Bringing your brain’s equilibrium and stability back to normal can reduce the symptoms of anxiety.
  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT): During ACT, you’ll study many techniques for determining your life values and apply these techniques in your daily routine. Researchers discovered that online ACT therapy is effective for treating several anxiety conditions.10
  • Stress Inoculation Training (SIT):11 SIT is a type of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) that can be done individually or within a group. It equips you to quickly defend against fear and anxiety when exposed to reminders or cues that cause these symptoms.
  • Present Centered Therapy (PCT):12 This non-trauma-oriented therapy focuses on current problems rather than processing the trauma directly. PCT teaches problem-solving techniques to deal with the stressors in one’s everyday life, as well as psychoeducation regarding the effects of trauma.
  • Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS): Several parts of the brain are implanted with electrodes during DBS. Electrical impulses control abnormal impulses, and the brain’s cells and molecules may be affected by these electrical impulses.13

Anxiety Treatment Costs & Insurance Coverage

As the Affordable Care Act requires, most private health insurance policies must provide coverage for mental health treatment like anxiety therapy. The treatment cost may be partially or entirely covered, depending on your specific type of health insurance, personal policy coverage, and deductible or lifetime limits. Furthermore, health insurance companies frequently cover the cost of inpatient therapy programs, especially when co-occurring illnesses like substance abuse are present.

In the United States, psychotherapy for anxiety, or talk therapy, typically costs between $100 and $200 per session,14 depending on the state. Finding a therapist who accepts insurance might not be easy, but many will work on a sliding scale payment plan. This amount is based on your income. In addition, online therapy is an option and is often less expensive than in-person evidence based therapy.

Finally, name-brand drugs can cost hundreds of dollars for only a month’s supply. For example, a month’s supply of Zoloft at 50 mg can cost up to $358, while a month’s supply of Paxil at 10 mg can cost up to $210.15

Anxiety Treatment Success & Outlook

There is no such thing as a quick fix regarding anxiety therapy. Each person’s experience with it will be different. The kind of therapy you need, the skills you gain, and how long you will need treatment will depend on your type of anxiety and the severity of your specific symptoms.

One typical misconception about therapy is that you’ll feel better right away. While this is true sometimes, you frequently feel worse before you begin to feel better. Unexpectedly, feeling worse is usually a sign that therapy is working.

When you decide to start anxiety counseling, usually it’s because you were unable to manage your symptoms on your own. In therapy, you will dig deeper and more meaningfully into the causes of your worry. Your anxiety may temporarily heighten as a result of this.

While some patients react to treatment within a few weeks or months, others may need more time. For example, it may take longer if a person has several anxiety disorders or other co-occurring problems. Therefore, a qualified therapist will complete a thorough assessment before establishing a customized treatment plan.16

Below are a few success outcomes and statistics on therapy for anxiety:

  • Compared to Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) functioned better in groups with moderate baseline anxiety sensitivity and no coexisting mood disorders. However, when treating patients with coexisting mood disorders, ACT performed better than CBT.17
  • The Anxiety & Depression Association of America (ADAA) reports that only 36.9% of people obtain medical treatment for anxiety disorders, although these conditions, even severe cases, are highly treatable.18
  • The most effective psychological therapy for treating Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Gains from treatment following a 12-week CBT session can be maintained for up to a year.19
  • A study from 2013 examined the outcomes of prolonged exposure therapy in 1,931 PTSD-afflicted veterans. The researchers discovered that long-term exposure therapy was efficient in easing the symptoms of depression and PTSD.20
  • According to studies by the EMDR Institute, Inc., 84% to 90% of victims of a single incident no longer experience PTSD after just three sessions of 90 minutes each.21
  • According to studies, over 70% of patients will react to appropriate benzodiazepine therapy (up to 40 mg/day of diazepam or an equivalent for at least three to four weeks). However, fewer than two-thirds will experience symptom remission.22
  • Tricyclic antidepressants and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are equally effective in treating panic disorder. According to the findings of a more recent study, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) combined with antidepressants was initially marginally more efficient during therapy. However, once all treatments were stopped, patients who used CBT alone or CBT paired with a placebo fared better than those who combined CBT and antidepressants.23


  1. “Anxiety Disorders.” Mayo Clinic, 4 May 2018, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/anxiety/symptoms-causes/syc-20350961.
  2. “Anxiety.” MedlinePlus, 22 May 2020, medlineplus.gov/anxiety.html.
  3. “What Are the Five Major Types of Anxiety Disorders?” HHS.gov, 20 Oct. 2021, www.hhs.gov/answers/mental-health-and-substance-abuse/what-are-the-five-major-types-of-anxiety-disorders/index.html.
  4. “PTSD Treatments.” American Psychological Association, July 2017, www.apa.org/ptsd-guideline/treatments.
  5. Tull, Matthew PhD. “The Benefits of PTSD Group Therapy.” Verywell Mind, 23 Jan. 2021, www.verywellmind.com/the-benefits-of-group-therapy-for-ptsd-2797656.
  6. “Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).” Mayo Clinic, 6 July 2018, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/post-traumatic-stress-disorder/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20355973.
  7. Ankrom, Sheryl MS, LCPC. “Should You Take Benzodiazepines to Treat Anxiety?” Verywell Mind, 31 May 2022, www.verywellmind.com/benzodiazepines-for-the-treatment-of-anxiety-2584334.
  8. Smith, Melinda M.A., et al. “Therapy for Anxiety Disorders.” HelpGuide.org, 6 Sept. 2022, www.helpguide.org/articles/anxiety/therapy-for-anxiety-disorders.htm.
  9. “TMS Therapy for PTSD | Success TMS Depression Treatment.” Success TMS, 2 Mar. 2020, successtms.com/tms-for-ptsd.
  10. Kelson, Joshua, et al. “Internet-Delivered Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Anxiety Treatment: Systematic Review.” Journal of Medical Internet Research, vol. 21, no. 1, JMIR Publications Inc., Jan. 2019, p. e12530. https://doi.org/10.2196/12530.
  11. Tull, Matthew PhD. “How to Manage PTSD Stress With Stress Inoculation Training.” Verywell Mind, 12 Aug. 2021, www.verywellmind.com/stress-inoculation-training-2797682.
  12. “PTSD Facts and Treatment.” Anxiety and Depression Association of America, ADAA. adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/posttraumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd/treatment-facts. Accessed 18 Sept. 2022.
  13. “Deep Brain Stimulation – Mayo Clinic.” Mayo Clinic, 3 Sept. 2021, www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/deep-brain-stimulation/about/pac-20384562.
  14. Lauretta, Ashley. “How Much Does Therapy Cost?” Forbes Health, 27 June 2022, www.forbes.com/health/mind/how-much-does-therapy-cost.
  15. Croot, Emily. “The Financial Costs of Anxiety.” Thrive Global, 10 Jan. 2019, thriveglobal.com/stories/the-financial-costs-of-anxiety.
  16. Treatment | Anxiety and Depression Association of America, ADAA. adaa.org/find-help/treatment-help. Accessed 26 Sept. 2022.
  17. Wolitzky-Taylor, Kate B et al. “Moderators and non-specific predictors of treatment outcome for anxiety disorders: a comparison of cognitive behavioral therapy to acceptance and commitment therapy.” Journal of consulting and clinical psychology vol. 80,5 (2012): 786-99. doi:10.1037/a0029418
  18. Facts and Statistics | Anxiety and Depression Association of America, ADAA. adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/facts-statistics. Accessed 26 Sept. 2022.
  19. Allgulander, Christer et al. “WCA recommendations for the long-term treatment of generalized anxiety disorder.” CNS spectrums vol. 8,8 Suppl 1 (2003): 53-61. doi:10.1017/s1092852900006945
  20. Eftekhari A, Ruzek JI, Crowley JJ, Rosen CS, Greenbaum MA, Karlin BE. Effectiveness of National Implementation of Prolonged Exposure Therapy in Veterans Affairs Care. JAMA Psychiatry. 2013;70(9):949–955. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2013.36
  21. Mazzola, Alexandra, et al. “EMDR in the Treatment of Chronic Pain.” Journal of EMDR Practice and Research, vol. 3, no. 2, Springer Publishing Company, May 2009, pp. 66–79. https://doi.org/10.1891/1933-3196.3.2.66.
  22. Cassano, Giovanni B et al. “Psychopharmacology of anxiety disorders.” Dialogues in clinical neuroscience vol. 4,3 (2002): 271-85. doi:10.31887/DCNS.2002.4.3/gcassano
  23. Ham, Peter. Treatment of Panic Disorder. 15 Feb. 2005, www.aafp.org/pubs/afp/issues/2005/0215/p733.html.

If you suspect that you or someone you love suffers from mental health disorders, contact Athena Care today.

One of our friendly associates will help you get the help you need. Take this first step to feel better and take control. 

(615) 320-1155