Anxiety disorders are generally treated with psychotherapy, medication, or a combination of the two. In some cases, however, medications for anxiety can be more harmful than helpful.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Cognitive behavioral therapy is a well-researched psychotherapy often used to treat anxiety. CBT teaches the patient alternative ways of thinking, behaving, and reacting to anxiety-producing and fearful situations. As patients become more aware of their thinking and behavior, they learn to identify how various thoughts and actions affect their mood, which in turn influences thought and behavior. They then learn techniques to change the patterns of thought and behavior that contribute to anxiety. CBT can also help people learn and practice social skills to overcome social anxiety disorder. CBT may be conducted individually or with a group of people with similar symptoms and goals for treatment. Participants are often assigned "homework" to complete between sessions.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
Acceptance and commitment therapy is directed at helping people live rich and meaningful lives, even in the presence of unwanted thoughts, emotions, memories, and physical sensations. ACT teaches strategies aimed at undermining unhelpful ways of responding, such as avoidance and inflexible behavior patterns. The goal of ACT is to promote psychological flexibility, or the ability to be open, aware, and engaged in life's experiences, for the purpose of facilitating values-based committed actions.