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Cognitive Behavioral Therapies for Anxiety Disorders

Cognitive Behavioral Therapies for Anxiety Disorders

Cognitive and behavioral therapies are used to treat obsessive thoughts, relentless worries, crippling phobias, anxiety disorders, and panic attacks. This makes it possible to live a life that is free of constant anxiety and fear. When seeking treatments, therapy is a good place to start on the path to a healthy mind. Cognitive-behavior therapy is particularly beneficial to teach individuals how to stop worrisome thoughts, control anxiety levels, and conquer their own fears that they are faced with in their everyday lives.

What is Cognitive-Behavior Therapy?

CBT is a highly effective and well established treatment. It aims to focus on understanding, identifying, and changing negative behavior patterns. While individual results vary, results are usually seen in 12 to 16 weeks. When taking part in CBT, the patient is heavily involved with their own recovery and gain skills that they can use throughout their entire lives.

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The patient will read about their problem, keep their own records for the time between appointments, and even complete homework. While the patient will learn the skills in the therapy sessions, it is up to them to routinely practice the skills in order to see improvements.

Dialectical Behavioral therapy (DBT)

DBT integrates cognitive-behavioral techniques and some concepts from Eastern Meditation through the use of acceptance and change. The therapy is both individual and group centered, allowing the use of mindfulness. It teaches skills for tolerating stress, regulating emotions, and interpersonal effectiveness.

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Exposure Therapy

Exposure therapy is the cognitive behavioral therapy process by which responses of anxiety and fear are reduced as an individual is slowly exposed to the object or situation that makes them fearful. This allows them to become less sensitive over time, and this specific type of therapy has been found to be greatly effective for treating phobias and obsessive-compulsive disorders.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

When implementing this strategy, mindfulness and acceptance are key. This allows you to live in the moment and experience everything with no judgment. There is also behavioral and commitment changes, used to cope with any unwanted feelings, thoughts, and sensations. ACT uses skills that will help to accept these experiences while placing them in a different context and developing clarity about one’s personal values, and committing to the need of changed behavior.

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Interpersonal Therapy (IPT)

This short-term supportive psychotherapy addresses the interpersonal issues caused by depression in adolescents, adults, or older adults. Generally, IPT involves 12 to 16 sessions that last one hour each week. The initial sessions are used to gather information about the reason for the person’s depression and interpersonal experiences.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

Under specific conditions, it is possible for eye movements to potentially reduce the intensity of disturbing thoughts. This EMDR treatment can have a direct effect on the brain and the way that it will process information. In short, it can help a person to see material that disturbs them in a way that causes less distress. It is similar to what happens during REM sleep, and has been proven effective for treating PTSD, phobias, and panic attacks.

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Cognitive Restructuring (Thought Challenging)

This type of therapy is when an individual challenges the negative thinking patterns that contribute to their anxiety, and then replaces these thoughts with realistic and positive ones. There are three steps that need to be done: identifying the negative thoughts, challenging the negative thoughts, and replacing the negative thoughts with realistic ones.

This therapy may also includes confronting your fears, learning coping skills and techniques for relaxation to counteract anxiety, and the tools to recognize when you are anxious and the physiology behind it.

Complementary Therapies

These are used when exploring anxiety disorders, and are designed to bring your stress level down in order to achieve emotional balance. There are several ways to implement this type of therapy including exercise, biofeedback, hypnosis, and relaxation techniques. All of these things are ways to reduce stress and anxiety, which will lead to an improvement in your health overall.

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Last Updated on November 11, 2019

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

Have you ever noticed that some people are able to effortlessly remember even the most mundane details and quickly comprehend new things? Well, you can too!

To unlock the full potential of your brain, you need to keep it active and acute. Wasting time on your couch watching mindless television shows or scrolling through facebook is not going to help.

Besides getting out flashcards, what can you do to help remember things better and learn new things more quickly? Check out these 10 effective ways on how to improve memory:

1. Exercise and Get Your Body Moving

Exercising doesn’t just exercise the body, it also helps to exercise your brain. Obesity and the myriad of diseases that eventually set in as a result of being overweight can cause serious harm to the brain.

Furthermore, without regular exercise, plaque starts to build up in your arteries, and your blood vessels begin to lose the ability to effectively pump blood. Plaque buildup leads to heart attacks and it also reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients that your blood carries to your brain. When the nutrients don’t make it there, the brain’s ability to function is compromised.

To prevent this from happening, make sure you get moving every day. Even if it’s just a brisk walk, it’ll help you maintain and increase your mental acuity. Brisk walking, swimming and dancing are all excellent activities. Take a look at these 5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise.

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2. Eliminate Stressors and Seek Help If You’re Depressed

Anything that causes you major stress, like anger or anxiety, will in time begin to eat away the parts of your brain that are responsible for memory. Amongst the most brain-damaging stressors is depression, which is actually often misdiagnosed a a memory problem since one of its primary symptoms is the inability to concentrate.

If you can’t concentrate, then you might feel like you are constantly forgetting things. Depression increases the levels of cortisol in your bloodstream which elevates the cortisol levels in the brain. Doctors have found that increased cortisol diminishes certain areas of the brain, especially the hippocampus which is where short-term memories are stored.

Prolonged depression can thus destroy your brain’s ability to remember anything new. Seek professional help to combat your depression – your brain will thank you.

3. Get a Good Night’s Sleep and Take Naps

Getting a consistent 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night will increase your memory. During sleep, the brain firms up memories of recently acquired information.

Getting enough sleep will help you get through the full spectrum of nocturnal cycles that are essential to optimal brain and body functioning during the waking hours. Taking a nap throughout the day, especially after learning something new, can also help you to retain those memories as well as recharge your brain and keep it sharper longer.

4. Feed Your Brain

Fifty to sixty percent of the brain’s overall weight is pure fat, which is used to insulate its billions of nerve cells. The better insulated a cell is, the faster it can send messages and the quicker you will be thinking.

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This is precisely why parents are advised to feed their young children whole milk and to restrict dieting – their brains’ need fat to grow and work properly. Skimping on fats can be devastating even to the adult brain.

Thus, eating foods that contain a healthy mix of fats is vital for long-term memory. Some excellent food choices include fish (especially anchovies, mackerel and wild salmon) and dark leafy green vegetables. Here’re more brain food choices: 12 Foods that Can Improve Your Brain Power

Deep-fried foods obviously contain fat but their lack of nutritional value is not going to help your brain or your body, so think healthy foods and fats.

5. Eat Breakfast and Make Sure It Includes an Egg

According to Larry McCleary, M.D., author of  The Brain Trust Program, an egg is the ideal breakfast. Eggs contain B vitamins which help nerve cells to burn glucose, antioxidants that protect neurons against damage; and omega-3 fatty acids that keep nerve cells firing at optimal speed.

Other foods to add to your breakfast include fruits, veggies and lean proteins. Avoid trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. Trans fats diminish the brain cells’ ability to communicate with each other and HFCS can actually shrink the brain by damaging cells.

Having a healthy breakfast in the morning has been shown to improve performance throughout the day. If you’re too busy to have a healthy breakfast, this maybe just right for you: 33 Quick And Healthy Breakfasts For Busy Mornings

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6. Write it Down

If there’s something you want to remember, writing it down can help.

It may sound like a no-brainer, but do you really know why? Writing it down creates oxygenated blood flow to areas of your brain that a responsible for your memories and literally exercises those parts of it. Here’s How Writing Things Down Can Change Your Life.

You can start a journal, write yourself emails or even start keeping a blog – all of these activities will help to improve your capacity to remember and memorize information.

7. Listen to Music

Research shows that certain types of music are very helpful in recalling memories. Information that is learned while listening to a particular song or collection can often be recalled by thinking of the song or “playing” it mentally. Songs and music can serve as cues for pulling up particular memories.

8. Visual Concepts

In order to remember things, many people need to visualize the information they are studying.

Pay attention to photographers, charts and other graphics that might appear in your textbook; or if you’re not studying a book, try to pull up a mental image of what it is you are trying to remember. It might also help to draw your own charts or figures, or utilize colors and highlighters to group related ideas in your notes.

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Here, you can learn How to Become a Person Who Can Visualize Results.

9. Teach Someone Else

Reading material out loud has been shown to significantly improve memory of the material. Expanding further upon this idea is the fact that psychologists and educators have found that by having students teach new concepts to others, it helps to enhance understanding and recall.

Teach new concepts and information to a friend or study partner, and you’ll find you remember the information a lot better.

10. Do Crossword Puzzles, Read or Play Cards

Studies have shown that doing crossword puzzles, read or play cards on a daily basis not only keep your brain active but also help to delay memory loss, especially in those who develop dementia.

So pick up the daily newspaper and work on that crossword puzzle, read a book or enjoy a game of solitaire.

Pick one to two of these tips first and start applying them to your everyday life. Very soon you’ll find yourself having better memories and a clearer head!

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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