There are many different disorders which are considered anxiety disorders, such as generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, various phobias, separation anxiety, panic disorder, etc. While the symptoms differ, we will speak of them collectively in this article both to simplify and because much of the same treatments work for all of them. (Previous article: Anxiety in the Brain)
Anxiety disorders can make even simple tasks seem insurmountable. The person suffering from this type of anxiety, may seem very irrational to others, but their brain is essentially telling them death or other horrors will be the end result to normal daily events and tasks which others without anxiety do without giving it a second thought. Someone with an anxiety disorder typically has anxiety related to many different situations or it may be related to some very specific situations.
How can a therapist help?
While the six antidotes for anxiety from the Bible are helpful to everyone, a person with a disorder may need help with learning these skills and applying them. In this situation a professional therapist could be helpful. They can teach a person more skills to help. One common skill taught may be how to change the thoughts inside their head into truthful beliefs which in turn will be calming. This is effective because often our thoughts are not true.
Real Life Example
When my children were in high school, they would often be anxious about the amount of homework they had and would say, “I have to get all this done tonight!”
I would respond, “You do not have to do it. Is someone going to shoot you if you do not? Will the world stop spinning if you do not?” Of course, they would respond that would not happen. Then I would say, “So you are choosing to do it. You would like to get it done because you want a good grade. But you do not have to get it done.”
It is really amazing how this small change to a thought can decrease the level of anxiety. This is also a very simplified example of cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT.
In a future article, I will discuss how to choose a therapist.