Does therapy help anxiety?: Get the facts about anxiety.
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Does therapy help anxiety?: Get the facts about anxiety.




Anxiety disorders are quite common. Here are the answers to whether therapy can help.



Get a detailed look at the science, and discover whether therapy is right for you to manage and treat your anxiety.




What is Anxiety?



Anxiety disorders are one of the most common types of mental health issues. Nearly a third of those with an anxiety disorder will experience it across their lifespan. And for many people, anxiety disorders are chronic in nature; meaning that it comes, and goes, and comes again.


Unlike other mental illness issues, anxiety disorders can also start in young ages, with the most common age of onset being 11 years old.


Anxiety is more than just “nerves”, and if untreated, can be a risk factor to serious health ramifications.


Symptoms often include constant worry, racing throughs, chest pain, increased heart rate, disturbed sleep, irritability, and panic attacks.


People often can turn to substance abuse as a means of treating their mental health conditions, including anxiety.


According to one study “The prevalence rates of personality disorders in patients with anxiety disorders are high, with 35% in post traumatic stress disorder, 47% in panic disorder with agoraphobia and generalized anxiety disorder, 48% in social phobia, and 52% in obsessive-compulsive disorder.”


When it comes to treating anxiety, the most common tools available are medication, and psychotherapy. 


In this article, we will answer the question “Does therapy help anxiety?


Learn more about individual therapy by clicking here.



What causes anxiety?


There are a myriad of reasons one may have anxiety ranging from the biological or the psychological. For some, it may be due to the neurological structure and functions in their brain. Areas of the brain that regulate anxiety, such as the amygdala and prefrontal cortex, may be underdeveloped.


Conversely, parts of the brain that amplify anxiety, such as the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex, may be too sensitive and reactive. 


Anxiety can also be the result of someone being in a chronic state of stress, unhealthy environments, or toxic relationships (such as abusive or codependent relationships). This can lead to a perpetual state of intense fear.


Specific to this article, we are going to focus more on the psychological causes of anxiety.


Just like every animal, we are wired to be aware of danger and to respond accordingly. Our anxiety mechanisms are simply acting on the things that were perceived to be a threat to us. Sometimes it is a literal threat, such as being fearful for our lives. Other times it is an abstract threat, like the fear of failure in our career.


Those with anxiety today may also have been experiencing anxiety for many years, due to the pervasive and chronic nature of anxiety disorders. 


For example, children who faced a lot of pressure to excel at home as a child, may have grown up to carry those same fears and pressures, leading to a chronically anxious state.


Someone that faced the sudden loss of a loved one at a young age may experience anxiety in romantic relationships years later. People that were bullied in school may avoid meeting new people later in life due to the anxiety and fear still carried inside.


There are countless reasons why someone may have severe anxiety.



What are the types of anxiety disorders?


Anxiety disorders describe a cluster of mental disorders that all have a common anxiety-related characteristic. Each type of anxiety disorder comes with it’s own mental health problems. Those include:

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Eating Disorders

Specific Phobias

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Panic Disorders

Social Phobia (Social Anxiety Disorder)



Is there evidence that therapy helps treat anxiety?


There are numerous studies that show that therapy is an effective treatment for those struggling with anxiety. Therapy has shown to be effective, for both adults and children, and can be delivered effectively via individual therapy  or via a support group


Nick Wallace, therapist at ALL IN, argues “anxiety can be treated and should be taken seriously, and participating in therapy is a way to treat it seriously.”


There are a variety of types of therapies that have been proven to be effective as a treatment against anxiety disorders. These include Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Mindfulness-based Therapies, Solution focused Therapy, and Gestalt Therapy to name a few. Many have found success in exposure therapy. 


The therapy you participate can be short term, long term, or happen in stages. 


Whatever the technique, it should be delivered by trained mental health professionals, or you run the risk of making the anxiety worse.




Can you be cured of anxiety?


The short answer: it depends. There is still much to learn about what causes one to become anxious and, and what cures or helps it.


As stated above, nearly 1 in 3 people with anxiety disorders will have it across their lifespan. However, this means that the majority of those that have an anxiety disorder will be able to alleviate themselves of anxiety permanently. 


There are many variables that go into determining whether your anxiety can be completely cured. This includes: the precip