Hurt101
A:

Hi Hurt101,

Glad you checked in. This is a really good question.

I am a therapist, so I am naturally going to recommend therapy. But I think I have some good reasons for that.

First, it has been my experience that the combination of therapy and medication can deliver a powerful one-two punch to anxiety. Many of my clients have worked with me and with a psychiatrist, and this has helped them.

What I tell my clients is that medication can keep the anxious feelings from not escalating. Medication kind of places a "ceiling" on the anxious feelings, helps to keep you feeling more even, more in control.

And by keeping that ceiling on your anxious feelings, you can then as a result benefit even more from therapy.

I recommend a cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) approach with anxious clients. CBT helps you to recognize anxious thoughts and understand the connection between these anxious thoughts and anxious feelings. CBT helps you to use your rational mind to "talk back" to anxious thoughts. CBT helps you to shift your perspective, so that anxious thoughts don't overwhelm you. Change the way you think, change the way you feel. Thoughts are automatic, we can't control them. But we don't have to follow an anxious thought down the rabbit hole.

Here's another reason to consider therapy with your medication. I once had a client complain that he was taking medication but still having anxious thoughts that we making him feel anxious. Here's what his psychiatrist said to him: The medication helps keep your anxious feelings from escalating. But you still need to work on managing your anxious thoughts. You still need therapy.

In addition to therapy, I also recommend that my clients build a solid support network, so that they have people who can spend time with them, listen, offer emotional support. Learning to relax can help — meditation, practices like yoga, talking walks, listening to music. Exercise can also help — a workout can work off some of that anxiety and get the positive hormones flowing. Using positive self-talk can help — saying things to yourself to help soothe you when your are anxious. And positive distraction can help — distracting yourself away from anxious thoughts with something more positive, like an activity you enjoy.

These are all techniques that you might work on with a therapist. Kind of like developing your own anxiety-coping toolkit.

Glad you checked in. I hope you will keep in touch and let me know how you're doing.

And take good care of yourself!

Gary

Answered By Answered by Dr GaryCA
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