The most common types of mental illness in the United States are anxiety disorders, impacting roughly 18.1% of the American population every year.
If you’ve been struggling with anxiety, you aren’t alone. It’s also important to understand that it isn’t uncommon for people who suffer from anxiety disorders to also experience depression, so seeking help is important when you feel you need it.
Have you been considering going to therapy for anxiety but aren’t sure what to expect?
Let’s take a look at what you need to know about anxiety, therapy for anxiety, and more.
What Is Anxiety?
Your body naturally responds to stress with anxiety, which is a feeling of apprehension or fear about the future. It is normal to feel anxious about things like starting a new job, giving a speech, or going to a college interview. However, if you are experiencing extreme anxiety for more than six months and it’s making it difficult for you to participate in your daily life, then it’s possible that you are suffering from an anxiety disorder.
The world we live in is chaotic, so it’s understandable to regularly experience anxiety. There are a lot of ways that individuals can manage minor anxiety on their own. These include getting exercise, getting enough high-quality sleep, practicing mindfulness and meditation, eating healthy, and much more.
However, if you have an anxiety disorder, seeking help might be the right thing to do. Let’s learn more about the different types of anxiety disorders.
What Are the Types of Anxiety Disorders?
There are a number of different disorders where anxiety plays a pivotal role. These include:
- Generalized anxiety disorder: characterized by ongoing and excessive anxiety that interferes with day-to-day activities
- Social anxiety disorder: the extreme fear of being in social situations and being judged by others
- Panic disorder: experiencing panic attacks in a recurring fashion at unpredictable times
- Phobia: excessive fear of a specific activity, situation, or object
- Separation anxiety disorder: fear of being apart from loved ones or away from home
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder: experiencing recurring irrational thoughts that lead to the performance of repetitive and ritualistic behavior
- Illness anxiety disorder: experiencing anxiety about your health
- Post-traumatic stress disorder: experiencing anxiety due to a traumatic event that occurred
These are only some of the more common and well-known mental health conditions that involve the experience of anxiety. If you feel that you might have an anxiety disorder, seeking help from a therapist or doctor can help you learn how to reclaim your mental health and wellness.
What Does Anxiety Feel Like?
Anxiety is typically experienced in your body and in your mind. Some of the physical symptoms of anxiety include:
- Jitters, shakes, or tremors
- An unsteady voice
- Difficulty relaxing
- Muscle tension
Emotionally and mentally, anxiety often causes:
- A general sense of unease
- Negative thinking
Different people might experience anxiety differently and it also might cause them to behave in different ways. While one person who feels anxious might withdraw, another person might behave aggressively.
In its most severe form, anxiety can turn into panic.
A panic attack is when an individual experiences an abrupt surge of intense discomfort or fear that brings on a number of different physical and psychological symptoms. These include sweating, rapid heart rate, shaking, hot flashes, shortness of breath, and lightheadedness. A person experiencing a panic attack might also experience chest pain, nausea, an impending sense of doom, chills, headache, and tingling or numbness.
How Do You Know When to Seek Help?
Have anxiety from time to time can be a perfectly healthy thing. It actually can even help to motivate you sometimes or ensure that you’re prepared for the future. However, if anxiety becomes your default mode, it’s probably time to seek help.
You don’t have to wait to experience physical symptoms to seek help for anxiety. Thoughts can be very destructive, and if you find yourself stuck in constant cycles of negative self-talk, second-guessing, or indecision, it can seriously impact your ability to live your life.
Making an appointment for anxiety therapy can help you break through this cycle and build a more realistic view of yourself and your world.
Seeking Help: Which Kind of Doctor Should You Look For?
There are a number of different medical professionals who are trained in helping people who have mental health and anxiety disorders. However, they aren’t all exactly the same.
A psychiatrist has received an MD or DO, meaning that they went to medical school. They are able to write prescriptions for medication and might have more broad expertise on the human body. If you are suffering from an anxiety disorder where it seems that medication might be necessary, you’ll likely want to make an appointment with a psychiatrist.
A psychologist often spends as much time in school as a psychiatrist, but typically has a Ph.D. or a PsyD. This means that they are doctors, but not medical doctors. Focusing on mental health, they typically can’t write prescriptions for medications except in a few states.
A social worker has either a master of social work (MSW) or a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) degree. They tend to specialize in connecting people to support services.
The term therapist is a more generic term and can often refer to any of these professionals.
How Much Does Therapy Cost? Does Insurance Cover It?
How much it costs to visit a therapist is going to depend on a number of factors. Psychiatrists are generally going to be more expensive than psychologists, who will generally be more expensive than social workers. It will also depend on your location, as hourly rates for therapists depend on where you are.
Insurance will sometimes cover some or all of your therapy session costs depending on your provider and your plan. In general, therapy sessions can range in cost anywhere from $68 to $250.
What Are the Benefits of Therapy?
There are a number of therapy benefits for anxiety or for any other mental wellness issues you’re dealing with. Some people might choose to see a therapist if they are facing a significant crisis, dealing with a major life transition, having relationship problems, struggling with dependencies on substances, or for many other reasons.
Going to individual therapy can offer you space where you feel safe expressing and exploring your feelings, concerns, and thoughts. It can help you delve into your personal issues and help you learn coping strategies to deal with challenging situations.
Being in therapy can help you feel empowered, learn how to make healthier choices, improve communication skills, develop fresh insights in your life, and develop coping strategies for dealing with distress in your life.
What Should You Do Before Your First Appointment?
If you’ve never been to therapy before, it can be nerve-wracking not knowing what to expect. Preparing a little bit beforehand can help put your mind at ease.
Take some time to write down any questions that you have about anxiety, therapy, or anything. Making sure you are able to get the questions answered that you need can help ensure that your first session is a success.
What Types of Therapies Might Be Used?
There are a number of different therapy methods that a therapist might use, but cognitive behavioral therapy is one of the most common ones. This is a method that targets your behaviors, physical symptoms, and thoughts that tend to accompany your anxiety. CBT can help you to change your behavioral, temperamental, and thinking patterns.
If you experience anxiety disorders such as PTSD or phobias, your therapy might include exposure therapy. This involves, with the help of your therapist, exposing yourself to the situation, activity, or object that triggers your anxiety to help you overcome that anxiety.
Therapy Can Help Support Your Mental Health and Wellness If You Suffer From Anxiety
Because it is natural to experience anxiety to some extent, it can be hard to understand when seeking help is necessary. If you feel as though you’re experiencing enough anxiety that it’s interfering with your daily life, then it can’t hurt to find a therapist you feel comfortable talking to. Even if you aren’t struggling with intense anxiety, therapy can be a reasonable place to be able to talk about your life and your issues in a safe and non-judgmental space.
Did you find this article about seeking help for anxiety helpful? If so, be sure to check out the rest of our blog for more interesting and informative articles!