Anxiety treatment is complicated, depending on its severity. Some clients who seek talk therapy services are successfully treated with mindfulness, cognitive behavioral strategies, hypnosis and less evidence based approaches as well. How one person gets better in their anxiety treatment may differ dramatically compared to others. Some clients who are clinically determined (not self-diagnosed that is) to have severe anxiety (where the criteria of what indicates “severe” is explained to them) will be referred to a psychiatrist for medications. Medications are seldom sufficient to resolve anxiety symptoms, and for the anxiety treatment to be effective it will generally (again, for severe cases) require combination treatment (both meds and talk therapy). Not all medications that are used in anxiety treatment are addictive (SSRI’s are not addictive for example) yet some that are used in treating anxiety, are/can be addictive (such as benzodiazepines). Clients who are prescribed medication should take it as their MD tells them to, and they should not discontinue medications without following the MD’s advice (stopping meds suddenly, in anxiety treatment particularly, can result in seizures among other risks). Clients seeking anxiety treatment (in DC and elsewhere) usually benefit, whether it is a severe, moderate, or mild type usually benefit from seemingly simple changes. Exercise is known to improve synaptic activity in the brain, improve motivation, decrease inflammation in the body – all which are players in anxiety and stress related disorders. However, a key in anxiety treatment, at least in the practice here, is for clients to have an understanding how it works in both their brains and in their bodies. It’s hardly as simple as saying that a client has an overactive brain, that the serotonin levels are off and that the panic disorder is managed solely with medication. In a psychoeducational view of anxiety treatment, the above video shows, in general terms, how the thinking brain and the negative emotional brain correlate. That is to say that as one part of brain functions (negative emotional brain is functioning 24 hours a day for all people—not only is active for those seeking anxiety treatment), the other (the thinking part of brain) functions in an interaction that could be seen as interplay. The correlation between feeling and thought is a key in helping clients seeking anxiety treatment – to get better. Often clients seeking anxiety treatment in Washington DC ask which is it that has the greatest impact—thoughts or feelings? The reality is this: thoughts (originating in the memory center of brain – the hippocampus) can activate negative (and conversely, positive) emotions AND negative emotions can occur first in the brain (as the amygdala is generally very sensitive in all people) where thoughts are subsequently activated. After clients learn HOW the process occurs, in general as they enter talk therapy (using all kinds of modalities, techniques and approaches) for anxiety treatment, usually they are better equipped to see what they can (and cannot) control. Sometimes medication is necessary, and sometimes it is not.
Here are a few more links to consider while you’re here: