October 12

Treatments for Anxiety [Let’s Talk About Esketamine]

 October 12

by Elijah Zoarski

There are several effective treatments for anxiety, ranging from therapy and counseling to medication and lifestyle changes. The choice of treatment will depend on the severity of the anxiety, individual preferences, and the recommendation of a healthcare professional. Here are some common treatments for anxiety:

Psychotherapy (Talk Therapy):

  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT): CBT is a widely used approach that helps individuals identify and change negative thought patterns and behaviors that contribute to anxiety.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has been shown to be effective for a wide variety of mental health disorders,1 including anxiety disorders.2-6 CBT has also been associated with improvements in quality of life in anxiety patients. - National Library of Medicine (2015)
  • Exposure Therapy: This type of CBT involves gradually facing anxiety-provoking situations to reduce fear and avoidance behaviors.
  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT): ACT focuses on accepting anxious thoughts and feelings while committing to meaningful actions and values.
  • Mindfulness-Based Therapies: These therapies, such as Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), teach mindfulness and meditation techniques to reduce anxiety.

Anxiety Medications:

  • Antidepressants: Certain antidepressant medications, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), are commonly prescribed for anxiety disorders.
  • Benzodiazepines: These medications, like diazepam and lorazepam, are typically prescribed for short-term relief from severe anxiety, but they carry a risk of dependence and are not recommended for long-term use.
  • Buspirone: Buspirone is an anti-anxiety medication that is less likely to lead to dependence than benzodiazepines.

Lifestyle Changes:

  • Regular Exercise: Physical activity has been shown to reduce anxiety and improve mood by releasing endorphins. Check out this study out of Harvard Health discussing the correlation between exercise and anxiety for free tips
  • Diet: A balanced diet with limited caffeine and sugar can help manage anxiety. The gut-brain connection is a growing area of research with more studies coming out annually on the importance of diet in maintaining mental health.
  • Sleep: Adequate sleep is crucial for overall mental health and reducing anxiety. If you are interested in monitoring your own sleep schedule and learning about how you can improve your sleep hygiene's, check out apps like Headspace and Calm. If you have a serious sleep disorder that is impacting your daily routine, consult a medical professional. 
  • Stress Management: Stress is often a symptom of an anxiety disorder. If you're feeling overwhelmed by stress, techniques like deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and biofeedback can help manage stress and anxiety symptoms.
  • Avoiding Alcohol and Substance Abuse: These substances can exacerbate anxiety symptoms.

Support Groups: Joining a support group for people with anxiety disorders can provide a sense of community and shared understanding. A new form of support group gaining in popularity is 'walk and talk therapy'

Complementary and Alternative Treatments: Some people find relief from anxiety through practices like acupuncture, yoga, aromatherapy, or herbal supplements. It's essential to discuss these options with your McLean healthcare provider and ensure they are used as complementary to, not a replacement for, evidence-based treatments. 

  • Esketamine: is an intranasal medication and is closely related to ketamine, which has also been explored for its potential use in treating depression. Some studies done on esketamine and comorbid anxiety suggest that ketamine (or esketamine) may have a rapid-acting antidepressant effect and can provide relief for symptoms of anxiety, OCD and other mood disorders
  • Medication and Therapy Combined: In some cases, a combination of therapy, alternative treatments and medication is the most effective approach for treating severe or persistent anxiety.

It's important to note that everyone's experience with anxiety is different, and what works for one person may not work for another. Additionally, anxiety disorders can be complex and may co-occur with other conditions, so it's essential to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the most appropriate treatment plan for your specific situation.

Reach Out to Our Team of Experienced Physicians Today for a Free Consultation

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