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3 Ways Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Treats Anxiety

Anxiety is one of the most common mental health conditions in the world. So, it only makes sense that there are a variety of different treatment options and management techniques designed to help with the symptoms. However, some options have proven to be more effective than others. Research says, that cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of the most effective and successful treatment solutions for a variety of anxiety disorders, including GAD, panic disorder, and specific phobias. Feelings aren’t always factual, and CBT helps people struggling with anxiety to realize that while overcoming the behaviors that often go along with it. With that, let’s look at three ways cognitive-behavioral therapy treats anxiety.

1. It Exposes the Roots of Your Anxiety

One of the first things you’ll go through in a CBT session is identifying your negative thoughts. Many people with anxiety have different triggers or situational things that fuel their symptoms. Others with more generalized anxiety can often be fearful at any given time. Whatever the case, your anxiety stems from somewhere. Getting to those underlying causes is the first step in treating your fears. It peels back the layers that have built up over the years and exposes the root of what’s really sparking your worry. It can be difficult to go through and potentially re-live some things you don’t want to. But, it’s a necessary step in the healing process.

2. It Challenges Your Negative Thinking

Once you identify what your negative thought patterns are, CBT will help you to analyze and question them. Again, it’s not uncommon for thoughts and feelings to be based on what’s inside, rather than on factual information. So, by looking at the facts instead, it can combat your negative thinking. When you’re met with a factual reality that can’t be disputed, those negative thoughts become weaker and can be less of a prominent voice in your head. By breaking down your fears,  they become more manageable. You’ll start to see that you can be in control again, rather than letting your anxious thoughts control you. When it comes to anxiety, that often means challenging the things you’re afraid of. For example, if you struggle with social anxiety and your greatest fear is that everyone will make fun of you in a group setting, CBT can help you to analyze that thought and focus on whether it’s actually realistic.

3. It Replaces Negative Patterns and Changes Your Behavior

Once you recognize your own negative thoughts, you’re not going to want to stay there. You won’t want to continue with the same behaviors as before, because they won’t fit. You also won’t have to live in fear anymore. Some people make the mistake of going from one extreme to another. You can’t replace a negative thought with a positive one that’s just as unrealistic. That’s why working with a therapist is so important. A therapist can help to guide you toward realistic thoughts, expectations, and behaviors. If you’re struggling with anxiety, CBT will allow you to challenge your fears with realistic thoughts and expectations, so you can display healthy behaviors that aren’t fueled by “what ifs” and worries. When you change your negative thought patterns and the responses to them, you’ll improve your overall well-being and can have an easier time challenging anxious thoughts in the future. Anxiety has many faces and can take on many different forms. Thankfully, CBT has been shown to help with so many of those specific conditions. If you’re interested in learning more about this type of therapy and how it can help with your anxiety, feel free to contact us or set up an appointment.