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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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Sasha Brown

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Last Updated on November 20, 2018

10 Reasons Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail

10 Reasons Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail

A new year beautifully symbolizes a new chapter opening in the book that is your life. But while so many people like you aspire to achieve ambitious goals, only 12% of you will ever experience the taste of victory. Sound bad? It is. 156 million people (that’s 156,000,000) will probably give up on their resolution before you can say “confetti.” Keep on reading to learn why New Year’s resolutions fail (and how to succeed).

Note: Since losing weight is the most common New Year’s resolution, I chose to focus on weight loss (but these principles can be applied to just about any goal you think of — make it work for you!).

1. You’re treating a marathon like a sprint.

Slow and steady habit change might not be sexy, but it’s a lot more effective than the “I want it ALL and I want it NOW!” mentality. Small changes stick better because they aren’t intimidating (if you do it right, you’ll barely even notice them!).

If you have a lot of bad habits today, the last thing you need to do is remodel your entire life overnight. Want to lose weight? Stop it with the crash diets and excessive exercise plans. Instead of following a super restrictive plan that bans anything fun, add one positive habit per week. For example, you could start with something easy like drinking more water during your first week. The following week, you could move on to eating 3 fruits and veggies every day. And the next week, you could aim to eat a fistful of protein at every meal.

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2. You put the cart before the horse.

“Supplementing” a crappy diet is stupid, so don’t even think about it. Focus on the actions that produce the overwhelming amount of results. If it’s not important, don’t worry about it.

3. You don’t believe in yourself.

A failure to act can cripple you before you leave the starting line. If you’ve tried (and failed) to set a New Year’s resolution (or several) in the past, I know it might be hard to believe in yourself. Doubt is a nagging voice in your head that will resist personal growth with every ounce of its being. The only way to defeat doubt is to believe in yourself. Who cares if you’ve failed a time or two? This year, you can try again (but better this time).

4. Too much thinking, not enough doing.

The best self-help book in the world can’t save you if you fail to take action. Yes, seek inspiration and knowledge, but only as much as you can realistically apply to your life. If you can put just one thing you learn from every book or article you read into practice, you’ll be on the fast track to success.

5. You’re in too much of a hurry.

If it was quick-and-easy, everybody would do it, so it’s in your best interest to exercise your patience muscles.

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6. You don’t enjoy the process.

Is it any wonder people struggle with their weight when they see eating as a chore and exercise as a dreadful bore? The best fitness plan is one that causes the least interruption to your daily life. The goal isn’t to add stress to your life, but rather to remove it.

The best of us couldn’t bring ourselves to do something we hate consistently, so make getting in shape fun, however you’ve gotta do it. That could be participating in a sport you love, exercising with a good friend or two, joining a group exercise class so you can meet new people, or giving yourself one “free day” per week where you forget about your training plan and exercise in any way you please.

7. You’re trying too hard.

Unless you want to experience some nasty cravings, don’t deprive your body of pleasure. The more you tell yourself you can’t have a food, the more you’re going to want it. As long as you’re making positive choices 80-90% of the time, don’t sweat the occasional indulgence.

8. You don’t track your progress.

Keeping a written record of your training progress will help you sustain an “I CAN do this” attitude. All you need is a notebook and a pen. For every workout, record what exercises you do, the number of repetitions performed, and how much weight you used if applicable. Your goal? Do better next time. Improving your best performance on a regular basis offers positive feedback that will encourage you to keep going.

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9. You have no social support.

It can be hard to stay motivated when you feel alone. The good news? You’re not alone: far from it. Post a status on Facebook asking your friends if anybody would like to be your gym or accountability buddy. If you know a co-worker who shares your goal, try to coordinate your lunch time and go out together so you’ll be more likely to make positive decisions. Join a support group of like-minded folks on Facebook, LinkedIn, or elsewhere on the internet. Strength in numbers is powerful, so use it to your advantage.

10. You know your what but not your why.

The biggest reason why most New Year’s resolutions fail: you know what you want but you not why you want it.

Yes: you want to get fit, lose weight, or be healthy… but why is your goal important to you? For example:

Do you want to be fit so you can be a positive example that your children can admire and look up to?

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Do you want to lose fat so you’ll feel more confident and sexy in your body than ever before?

Do you want to be healthy so you’ll have increased clarity, energy, and focus that would carry over into every single aspect of your life?

Whether you’re getting in shape because you want to live longer, be a good example, boost your energy, feel confident, have an excuse to buy hot new clothes, or increase your likelihood of getting laid (hey, I’m not here to judge) is up to you. Forget about any preconceived notions and be true to yourself.

  • The more specific you can make your goal,
  • The more vivid it will be in your imagination,
  • The more encouraged you’ll be,
  • The more likely it is you will succeed (because yes, you CAN do this!).

I hope this guide to why New Year’s resolutions fail helps you achieve your goals this year. If you found this helpful, please pass it along to some friends so they can be successful just like you. What do you hope to accomplish next year?

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