Anxiety is something that many people experience throughout their lifetime. Some may struggle with it daily, while for others, it may come in waves or be situational. Studies show that over 40 million adults in the United States have an anxiety disorder, a little more than 19% of the population.
This number doesn’t include the hundreds of thousands of people who are likely undiagnosed, chalking their symptoms up to circumstantial stressors. The truth is, some degree of anxiety can be normal, and can even be a good thing in moderation. When symptoms become excessive, however, it can become problematic.
Treatment for anxiety can vary widely. Some may choose to manage symptoms with medication. Others may opt for psychotherapy or counseling. Many elect to receive a combination of both medication and therapy.
Temporary fear or worry about things such as finances, family, or health issues is totally normal. An anxiety disorder is present when the worry or fear does not pass, increases over time, or interferes with day-to-day life such as work, school, or relationships.
There are several different types of anxiety disorders. These include generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and various phobia-related disorders. Symptoms can vary for each type, but a few common symptoms of each can include:
Anxiety is often treated with benzodiazepines, more commonly known as benzos. These medications are also widely prescribed for insomnia, stress, epilepsy, and for sedation purposes. With anxiety and the other mentioned challenges being so prevalent, benzos are among the most frequently prescribed medications in the United States.
Benzos work by slowing down the central nervous system as they increase the activity of the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid. This produces a calm feeling and can even lead to drowsiness. It is for this reason that benzos can also be used to treat insomnia.
Benzos are only to be used temporarily or for short periods. This usually involves only a few days to weeks of usage at a time. Unfortunately, however, some providers continue to prescribe them to be used for longer durations. This creates a tolerance for the suggested dosage, often resulting in the misuse of the medication. More is required to get the calming effect once achieved with the prescribed dosage. Just like that, a habit is formed. There is also the risk of overdose when mixing benzos with alcohol or other drugs.
Benzos should be considered a small piece of the full treatment plan for anxiety – if included at all. Psychotherapy is an excellent addition to medication therapy or an alternative form of treatment for anxiety. Psychotherapy can include techniques such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), experiential therapy, and holistic therapy. Each of these options can be highly effective in treating anxiety and can be used to supplement, reduce, or replace the use of benzos for treating anxiety and related symptoms.
CBT increases cognitive awareness and encourages eliminating negative thought patterns. This form of therapy creates an increased understanding of how one’s thoughts and emotions are affecting their actions and behaviors.
Experiential therapy involves the reenactment or recreating of significant events or experiences in a person’s life. Various activities, tools, or props are often used in this form of treatment. Role-playing can commonly be incorporated to help one re-live and process the experience. Activities could include horseback riding, surfing, kayaking, acting, and more.
Holistic therapy refers to treating the whole person. This approach focuses on the mind, body, and spirit and is very integrative. Examples of holistic treatment modalities could include art therapy, music therapy, chiropractic, yoga, meditation, and consuming organic foods. Holistic therapies often involve lifestyle changes and healthy routines to improve one’s overall quality of life.
Depending on the source, severity, and frequency of one’s anxiety, choosing a therapeutic approach may be just as beneficial as prescription anxiety medication and, in many cases, can be a more sustainable treatment option in the long term. Knowing the habit-forming risks of benzos, it could be worth considering alternate options to treat anxiety before or in addition to seeking medication. At Enlightened Solutions, we offer a range of evidence-based therapies to treat addiction to prescription drugs, including benzos.
Benzodiazepines are the most frequently prescribed medications in the United States. They are very commonly prescribed for the treatment of anxiety and several other disorders. Because of the risk of misuse, addiction, and even harm when taken in excess or combined with other substances, other more natural options should be considered. Therapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, experiential therapy, and holistic therapy can serve as an excellent addition or alternative to benzos for the treatment of anxiety. Enlightened Solutions specializes in holistic therapy, and utilizes treatments such as art therapy, music therapy, and yoga, in addition to chiropractic, meditation, and organic food programs as part of individualized treatment plans. Our highly trained staff encourages healing and restores hope through these treatment modalities and can assist you in regaining control of your life. If you or someone you love could benefit from our treatment offerings, call Enlightened Solutions today at (833) 801-LIVE.
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