Occasionally, it is normal and indeed healthy for a person to experience a certain level of anxiety. However, when this becomes excessive or an irrational fear that interferes with that person’s daily life, then it has become an anxiety disorder and needs treatment. Indeed, an anxiety disorder will last at least six months and may become worse if not treated as soon as possible.
Anxiety disorders are often treated with medication or psychotherapy, and occasionally a combination of both. Psychotherapy will involve talking to a professional, such as a counsellor or psychologist to discover the cause of the problem and how to treat the symptoms. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is useful when treating anxiety disorders according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Techniques from CBT can focus on changing current patterns and ways of thinking or beliefs that are associated with the anxiety.
CBT can include self talking, attention training, challenging how we think and what we fear or believe. One component of CBT is exposure, which means purposely facing the fear to allow desensitisation to take place, although this is only ever done once the client is ready. CBT is known for being a relatively quick therapy.