Finding Treatment for Anxiety Disorders
Medication versus Therapy
When seeking treatment for anxiety disorders such as OCD, GAD, or Social Anxiety, making sense of the overwhelming options available can be stressful. What is the best way to treat emotional or mental distress depends on personal preference, how one defines their disorder, what type of change they expect, social stigmas and financial concerns. These and other reasons will keep the majority of those suffering from anxiety disorders from ever seeking help. A high percentage of those getting treatment for Anxiety Disorders will not receive adequate help or finish their treatment.
So what’s going on? What stops people from seeking treatment for their anxiety disorders? They most certiainly don’t want to suffer. They don’t want to feel bad.
6 Reasons people don’t seek treatment for anxiety disorders
- The person knows they need help, but doing nothing feels safer than actually dealing with the problem. This is a problem for many suffering from anxiety disorders. Their fears create barriers and limitations they are not comfortable going beyond
- The person feels their situation is helpless and no one can change them. The person has given up. They have lost a sense of their own self worth and trapped in beliefs promoting fear and skepticism.
- The persons way dealing with things is to not deal with them. Those who don’t want to see problems, won’t recognize them. Treatment for anxiety disorders will never happen for those in denial..
- The person has a negative outlook towards aspects of the medical profession. Nothing is perfect, including the health care profession. All health care professionals take with perspective they are most comfortable with and you can’t know these perspectives until you talk with a health care provider. It also may mean the person should remain open to alternative approaches to help turn things around
- The person does not feel their situation is all that bad. Normal is not a preset perspective. It is a comparison, a sliding scale. After a while, certain levels of stress or anxiety start to feel normal. It gets a little worse for a period of time and that becomes the new normal for how they feel. Some eventually reach a threshold they can no longer ignore, but many will just survive under their threshold of discomfort.
- The person gets obsessive or comfortable in research mode. Research is not taking action and without some form of action, nothing ever changes
Medications take the lead
When it comes to helping people, prescription medications have almost become the default means of handling mental illness, including treatment for anxiety disorders. It’s been engrained into the mindset of our society.
In a recent article on mental health care,the Concord Monitor
noted “No state can afford to give everyone with a problem a psychiatrist, case manager, expensive medication, Medicaid or Medicare, and poverty, unemployment or disability benefits”. Notice there is no mention of therapist in the role in helping those in need
For many it comes down to having to choose between taking medication or therapy. The trends of recent decades has the use of therapists on the decline, while prescription medications are on the up swing
6 reasons prescription medications have become the primary treatment for anxiety disorders
- With or without insurance, anti anxiety medications seem affordable for most people
- They are easy to get.
- For many people medication seems like the least intrusive form of treatment for anxiety disorders.
- Many psychological issues are only spoken about as diseases or illnesses and the belief is, when one is ill, they take medication.
- Medication is standardized, which insurance companies like and it makes it easier for health professionals to get reimbursement. Standardization though does not mean the results are consistent from one individual to the next. Patients must still do their research and hold a degree of accountability for their own well being.
- Taking medication requires no complicated instructions. It does not require anyone to make changes in themselves. The person can believe anything they want about the reasons their anxiety exists.
Individually, any of these reasons can be powerful motivators for using medication to treat anxiety..
While these reasons are plausible, it doesn’t necessarily make them the the best choices to make. Yet for the average consumer, when they add all these reasons together, it’s easy to see why medications have become one of the most popular forms of treatment for anxiety disorders and depression.
But anxiety is not a disease; it’s a biological process occurring in the nervous system. Each of us has our own threshold as to what triggers anxiety, how much we can handle and how we cope with it. People take these medications to manage pain or to control it, but it doesn’t mean they have gotten healthier or learned to cope with stress or uncomfortable emotional situations more effectively
So what about therapy?
Therapy is means of helping people work through stress and relationship issues. Therapy also help clients more effectively cope with life challenges, inappropriate cognitive reactions and emotional sensitivities. Yet many use it as a last approach.
6 reasons therapy is not the first consideration as treatment for anxiety disorders
- Therapy is not well advertised. It has no brand, it is not the first thing that comes to the forefront of peoples mind when they feel troubled. Since each therapist is different, many feel there is too much of an unknown in trying to find a therapist.
- The person feels therapy is about someone listening to them and then telling them what to do. If it is all your therapist is doing, you may want to find someone else to work with. Good therapists or counselors are interested in helping clients adapt to new ways of relating with themselves and coping with the world differently in a way that makes sense to the client.
- The person feels those who get help are weak. They fear what others will think. This is interesting, since almost no one thinks poorly of the person who gets help taking medication to overcome their problems. Thinking any form of medication to cope with anxiety to be acceptable while seeing a therapist as unacceptable is a poorly thought out idea. In actuality, weak people stay locked the small reality of what they know. They try and mask their problems. Strength is found in those willing to get beyond their level of familiarity so they can improve their lives..
- The person fears changing themselves. Change is stepping into the unknown and it can seem like a scary place to visit. But that is what growth is about, to become bigger than the habits, reactions and familiarities we’ve come to know. You will never be right by staying the same if the place you are trying to stay in are not supporting you
- Location of therapist is inconvenient. A lack of quality therapists exists in the area. These days phone therapy readily available and this should hardly be a valid reason anymore.
- Therapy seems too expensive. Each person has assess their own financial situation and often money is a sticking point for getting quality help. But that should not stop anyone from making the effort to reach out for help.
When someone has physical pain, they will probably take some form of medication to deal with the pain. If the pain is persistent, something else is going on and some other form of action must be taken.
With emotional and mental discomfort, mild upsets can be dealt with through medication. For on going or intense emotional and mental disruptions, something else is going on. Seeing a good therapist can help a person change stuck or unwanted perspectives. Find someone who you can talk to. You want to get the feeling the person is knowledgeable and can help you process mental patterns more effectively, gain balance and be emotionally more self supportive.