Treating anxiety using behavior therapy can be tailor-fitted to an individual. There are a number of approaches available but there is no single correct approach in treating anxiety. Therapists usually use a combination of approaches. A patient with anxiety disorder is in the first place treated as an outpatient. He/she does not need to be admitted to a hospital for treatment, unless it is a serious problem which needs hospitalization under constant observation.
Anxiety Treatment Using Behavior Therapy
The goal in behavior therapy is to change and take control over the undesirable behavior. The therapist helps the patient in learning how to cope with different situations through controlled exposures to these situations. Techniques used in anxiety treatment are exposure therapy, behavioral activation, modeling and constant progress feedback.
In exposure therapy, the patient is exposed to upsetting experiences through actual situation or imagined version of the experience while in a relaxed state. Because of this, the patient begins to associate such upsetting experiences to the relaxed state that he/she is in which allows for clearer thinking and better decisions making.The old upsetting experience is then replaced with these new associations, which can help in the anxiety treatment.
In behavioral activation, a list of activities that the patient enjoys or needs to engage in, for them to have a satisfying and normal life,is prepared by the therapist. The patient will then go through the list in an organized mode. This can help in treating anxiety because the patient is exposed to naturally occurring rewards of each activity.
Modeling involves the patient observing another person perform the wanted behavior. Once the patient sees that the behavior performed did not meet any negative consequence, the therapist can now encourage and guide the patient in copying successfully the performance. In bio-feedback, body functions like heart rate or muscle tension are monitored and expressed to the patient so that he/she can better control the action causing such body functions.
Bio-feedback can be used in treating anxiety as this technique makes a patient aware of his/her body’s response to certain stimulus. With behavioral therapy, a person is actively involved in acquiring recovery skills that will be useful in his/her life. However, it may take time to achieve the desired results as this can take a series of lengthy consultations with the therapist stretching over months- even years in some cases.