In the diagnostic interview data from the National Comorbidity Survey Replication, it has been found that around 21% of U.S. adults experience anxiety or any mood disorder at some time in their lives. Almost half of these mood disorders will be considered serious impairments. Anxiety disorders, whether considered severe or not, can hinder day-to-day living, making it difficult to participate in school, work, relationships, community, etc.
The good news is that various treatments are accessible to address anxiety, and one of them is Cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT. We created ‘CBT for Social Anxiety Disorder: A Complete Guide’ to help you understand how this therapy is used and applied for anxiety disorders, particularly social anxiety disorder, as well as other treatments and services available to help you or a loved one recover and achieve a sense of well-being.
Stress-related anxiety is a common part of living. It may be feeling anxious about a big presentation or making a big life decision. However, a person with an anxiety disorder experiences more than temporary worries or stress. Often, the anxiety lasts and gets worse over time.
Anxiety is a form of mood disorder characterized by responding to certain objects or situations with dread and fear. These objects, situations, or people are often referred to as triggers. The following are some types of anxiety disorders:
- generalized anxiety disorder
- social anxiety disorder
- post-traumatic stress disorder
- panic disorder including agoraphobia
- obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Trichotillomania or dermatillomania or any body-focused repetitive behaviors
People with social anxiety disorder have a general intense fear of social or performance situations. Social Anxiety makes them worry that actions or behaviors associated with their anxiety will be negatively received by others, leading them to feel embarrassed. This causes people with social anxiety to withdraw and avoid social situations. This self-isolation also happens to other types of anxiety disorders in varying degrees.
People with anxiety disorder often have physical responses to their triggers, such as elevated heartbeat and blood pressure, sweating, and hyperventilation. The fear or dread they feel is often uncontrolled and disproportionate or inappropriate to the situation. Here are some symptoms to look out for:
- Difficulty controlling feelings of fear, worry, or dread
- Feeling wound-up, on-edge, or restless
- Muscle tension
- Easily irritated
- Tiredness or fatigue
- Problems with concentrating or remembering
- Sleep problems
If you are experiencing these symptoms, it is best to set an appointment with a professional. Preliminary assessments are important in getting the right treatment to address your anxiety disorder. In the next section of this CBT for Social Anxiety Disorder: A Complete Guide, we’ll discuss one of the best available anxiety treatments to manage your symptoms.
Cognitive Behavior Therapy or CBT is a combination of two approaches: Cognitive Therapy and Behavioral Therapy. CBT is one of the most commonly used treatments in addressing a variety of disorders as well as the most studied one. Methods may differ per person or facility, but the core idea remains the same: our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are all closely connected. Together, they create a complex web that impacts our overall health.
To better understand this, below is an example:
You see somebody you know on the street and say hello, but they do not say hello back. Your own reaction to that very much depends on how you assess the situation:
|Thoughts||“He ignored me – he doesn’t like me anymore.”||“He didn’t notice me – maybe he doesn’t feel well. I should give him a call and find out how he is doing.”|
|Feelings||Someone who thinks like this feels down, sad and rejected.||These thought patterns do not cause any negative feelings.|
|Behavior||The consequence of this thought is to avoid this person in the future, although the assumption could be completely false.||This thought is a prompt to get back in touch with the person to find out if everything is alright.|
This short-term treatment teaches people to identify and change destructive or unhelpful thought patterns that inform their reactions or behavior. CBT operates on the idea that while we cannot control the things and situations that surround us, we can definitely take control of how we deal with these uncertainties in our world.
CBT has been shown to be effective for a wide variety of mental health disorders, including anxiety disorders. It is also associated with improvements in the overall quality of life in anxiety patients. CBT For social anxiety and other anxiety disorders work by altering maladaptive or destructive emotional responses or behavior by changing the patient’s thoughts, behaviors, or both.
One of the methods in CBT to treat anxiety disorders is Exposure Therapy. It focuses on confronting the underlying fears to help people engage in situations or activities they have been avoiding. Sometimes, exposure therapy is integrated with relaxation exercises.
Cognitive Therapy is also another approach commonly used in treating anxiety disorder. It targets false beliefs or distorted thoughts using techniques such as:
- identifying inaccurate thinking
- examining the evidence for and against automatic thoughts
- challenging and changing maladaptive thoughts
- altering problematic behaviors
- relating to other people in more adaptive ways
Again, the main goal of CBT is to change the thoughts and beliefs that are destructive and replace these with new information that will help build better-coping skills for a healthier overall living.
In this section of CBT for Social Anxiety Disorder: A Complete Guide, let’s run down some of the other treatments used in addressing anxiety disorders.
Apart from Exposure Therapy and Cognitive Therapy, a number of psychological therapies blend cognitive and behavioral elements into their approach. These are:
- Dialectical Behavior Therapy Or Dbt
- Cognitive Processing Therapy
- Multimodal Therapy
- Integrative Psychotherapy
- Reality Therapy
- Eye Movement Desensitization And Reprocessing
- Acceptance And Commitment Therapy
Another potential non-invasive therapeutic option is transcranial magnetic stimulation or TMS. It is an FDA-approved procedure that uses painless magnetic pulses to help activate the natural function of the brain’s neurotransmitters. Studies have shown that TMS treatment for anxiety reduces symptoms and may induce balance in overall brain activity.
Additionally, TMS is typically used when other treatments or medications haven’t been effective. If you are a CBT therapist in Los Angeles, this can be a good option to integrate alongside other treatments for social anxiety and other anxiety disorders.
A Revolutionary Treatment For Depression And Anxiety
If you are looking for a Long Beach Ca Psychiatrist or anxiety treatments for your or a loved one’s anxiety disorder, we at Roots TMS are here to help. We offer cutting-edge treatments like Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation or TMS, a psychiatric breakthrough in treating anxiety and other mood disorders while providing the highest level of safety and support to our patients. Our treatment team is here to help you and guide you on your journey to recovery and wellness. Come visit us at 3939 Atlantic Ave, Suite 102 Long Beach, CA 90807, or call (866) 766-8776 for immediate assistance.