What are Anxiety Treatment Options?

by Editorial Board on August 5, 2010 · 0 comments

in Mental Conditions

A condition must be both severe and long-lasting in order to qualify you for disability under Social Security guidelines, so it is natural to wonder if there is any hope of recovering enough to return to work. If you are receiving Social Security disability benefits due to anxiety, you have been found incapable of meeting the basic mental demands required by a job, and it is expected that you will be unable to work for at least one year.

Can treatment for anxiety during this time help you recover enough to go back to work? Happily, in many cases the answer is yes. There are a variety of treatments for anxiety, and which one is right for you will depend on the cause of your anxiety.  If you win disability benefits Social Security can review your case at a later time to see if you are well enough to work, but those reviews are infrequent.

In some cases, anxiety is a symptom of another physical illness. There are many physical ailments that can cause anxiety, from heart conditions to hyperthyroidism. A physical cause of anxiety is one of the easiest to remedy, and in many cases you can expect a full recovery by treating the underlying condition. However, if you have qualified for SSDI because of anxiety, it’s likely that your doctor has already ruled out an underlying physical cause.

If the cause of your anxiety is psychological, you may not be able to pinpoint an underlying cause. In that case, you will need to work with your doctor to manage your symptoms. One particularly effective method is Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT). CBT will teach you skills that research has shown to be effective ways of managing anxiety. You will learn to use these skills whenever and wherever you need them, so you can cope with anxiety symptoms anytime they surface. Treating anxiety disorders with CBT has a success rate of around 80%. Not only is CBT effective, it also requires less treatment time than many other methods, averaging just 16 visits with a therapist.

Medications are another option for controlling anxiety, and are best used in combination with psychotherapy such as CBT. Drugs that reduce symptoms of anxiety include benzodiazepines (such as Valium and Xanax), SSRIs (antidepressants such as Prozac and Zoloft), and beta-blockers. Benzodiazepines are rarely prescribed for longer than 6 weeks due to the possibility of addiction, but they can be extremely effective in combination with psychotherapy.

Anxiety can be very debilitating, but is one of the most successfully treated of all mental health issues. With appropriate and consistent treatment from a professional, it is possible to reach a point where your anxiety is no longer disabling. Although you may never be cured of your anxiety, learning ways to manage the symptoms and causes can certainly make you well enough to go back to work.

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