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Cognitive behavioral therapy: Restoring brain’s structural balance among people with anxiety disorder

Cognitive behavioral therapy: Restoring brain’s structural balance among people with anxiety disorder

August 07 | By TATH Team

Many people struggle with anxiety on a regular basis. Often induced by excessive fears and irrational feelings, it can affect the daily life of a person, thereby causing severe life-disruptive complications and symptoms, such as the feeling of restlessness or on the edge, difficulty in concentrating and controlling emotions, muscle tension, sleep issues, irritability, etc.

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) highlights that nearly 18 percent of the adults in the United States, which is about 40 million adults are affected by anxiety disorders. With such a large proportion of the population suffering from anxiety disorder, it is necessary to ensure effective interventions for early recovery.

Being a frequently occurring mental health issue, anxiety has paralyzed millions of people worldwide. Although antianxiety agents like anxiolytics may appear effective in reducing the physical and psychological symptoms, they do not help in combating the disorder. Instead of ensuring complete recovery, these medications rather increase the risk of developing dependence and tolerance, especially when used for a prolonged period.

In such a scenario, psychotherapies, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), talk therapy or other anxiety management techniques, may win over medication-based treatment. CBT is one of the effective forms of psychotherapies, which several evidences suggest assists in managing the varied challenges of anxiety disorders.

CBT ensures recovery by customizing anxiety-coping strategies

Invented by a psychiatrist Aaron Beck in the 1960s, CBT is a combination of psychotherapy and a short-term, goal-oriented behavioral therapy that offers practical insight into solving a problem by altering the mindset and behavior responsible for inducing distress. Compared to medications, CBT works by changing people’s perspective and attitude toward their emotions and helping them in tackling and managing other symptoms, such as sleep issues, severe anxiety, appetite-related problems, etc.

Fortunately, an important feature of the CBT is that it is usually short and takes about five to ten months to deliver results. Each session of a CBT lasts for approximately 50 minutes. During each session, the patient chalks out the problems while the therapist develops effective strategies to understand and manage the symptoms. These anxiety-coping strategies are developed by customizing them according to the need of each patient by understanding the relationship between problems, behavior and thoughts of the patient.

Such sessions also assist patients in identifying their thoughts to overcome all difficulties thrown in their face by anxiety disorders. By identifying both cognitive and behavioral problems, medical practitioners are able to nail the overall disorder.

CBT assists in regulating emotions by causing structural changes in brain

A study conducted by researchers from the University of Zurich, Zurich University Hospital and the University Hospital of Psychiatry Zurich found that CBT can prove effective in altering or modifying the key brain structures that are involved in processing and regulating emotions. However, the findings further helped in explaining the efficiency of the therapy in treating anxiety disorders.

An estimated one in every 10 people is affected by social anxiety disorder during their lifetime. It can significantly impair one’s normal functioning in daily life by triggering debilitating fear, anxiety and stress in social situations.

Researchers found that people affected by social anxiety disorder are likely to have impaired frontal and lateral brain areas that are responsible for regulating excessive anxiety. However, CBT assists in restoring the balance between cortical and subcortical brain areas. The study found significant structural changes in the areas linked to the processing of self-control and regulation of emotion.

Recovery road map

Unlike medications, CBT assists a person in solving his or her problems related to anxiety disorder from the root itself. It instills the real-life perspective in patients by focusing on varied situations and challenges likely to be witnessed by them. Such a therapy roots out negative thinking and other behavioral problems by inducing changes in thoughts and brain of the patients.

Anxiety disorders can take a toll on one’s physical and mental health by causing a number of complications. If you know someone who exhibits the signs of anxiety disorder, contact the advisers at the Anxiety Treatment Help to find the anxiety disorders treatment centers in Texas where individual and group therapies, and experiential activities, such as meditation, are encouraged. You can chat online with our treatment advisers or call us at our 24/7 helpline number 866-487-5015 to get more information.

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