I see many patients who suffer from anxiety these days (not just related to plastic surgery-LOL). Here are three treatment modalities to consider that were published in Women's Health Magazine
that provide some hope for improvement without the need for medications.
FACE YOUR FEARS
3 Methods That Help You Face Your Fears and Overcome Anxiety
Anxiety can be completely devastating if left untreated. Here are three solutions that can help ease the fear.
PUBLISHED: AUGUST 5, 2014 | BY KRISTEN DOLD
There are no magic phobia-slaying meds or other quick-fix cures. Many of the best treatments call for confronting the things you're most scared of. These three methods can help.
COGNITIVE BEHAVIORAL THERAPY (CBT)
CBT involves changing phobia-related thoughts and behaviors, then meeting your specific fear factor via "exposure" treatment. If, for example, you have a fear of heights, your therapist might move you through a "fear ladder," from peering out a second-story building window to eventually peering over the edge of a skyscraper balcony. Or, if you're terrified of spiders, your exposure might require first looking at photos of spiders, then standing 10 feet away from a spider terrarium, then touching the terrarium, then touching a spider with the end of a paintbrush, then touching a spider with a glove, then finally petting one with your bare hand. (Arachnophobics who did this in a Northwestern University study were still phobia-free six months later.) Typically covered by insurance, CBT works up to 95 percent of the time, says Martin Antony, Ph.D. But you'll have to commit. It usually can take anywhere from one two-hour session to 10 weekly hour-long sessions, with take-home work in between.
Less studied than CBT and virtual-reality therapy, hypnosis nevertheless has a steady following. Anecdotal evidence shows that the practice, in which a hypnotherapist slips your body and mind into a focused state of awareness and "walks" you through your fears for an hour, can do wonders for phobias, often in combination with CBT. It could be that reorganizing irrational instincts into logical thought patterns is easier when your brain is at rest, says Reid Wilson, Ph.D. And if you can't stand the thought of exposure therapy (touching spiders? No way in hell!), hypnosis can be a good baby step toward getting over your fear. Most patients see improvement in four to 12 sessions.
Some fears, including flying or public-speaking phobias, can be very difficult to replicate in therapist-controlled settings. Enter virtual-reality exposure treatment. You wear a head-mounted simulator (think: a 3-D video screen in front of your face) that "transports" you to, say, an airplane or lecture hall. A trained therapist uses a computer to monitor you as she controls what you see and hear, and your brain reacts to the scenes in the same way it would to real-life scenarios, says Antony. As with CBT, the goal is to eventually retrain your mind to think of these situations as normal and nonthreatening. Weekly treatments can last an hour or more and usually start working after anywhere from three to 12 sessions.