GAD Generalized Anxiety Disorders Information & Support Group
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Research for General Anxiety Disorder
Research has shown that behavioral therapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy can be effective for treating several of the anxiety disorders.
Behavioral therapy focuses on changing specific actions and uses several techniques to decreases or stop unwanted behavior. For example, one technique trains the patient to control and slow down the breathing to reduce anxiety. This is necessary because people who are anxious often hyperventilate, taking rapid shallow breaths that can trigger rapid heartbeat, and become lightheaded, and also suffer other symptoms.
Another technique is exposure therapy, gradually exposing the patient to what frightens them and helps them cope with their fears.
Like behavioral therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy teaches patients to react differently to the situations and body sensations that trigger panic attacks and other anxiety symptoms. However, patients also learn to understand how their thinking patterns contribute to their symptoms and how to change their thoughts so that symptoms are less likely to occur.
This awareness of thinking patterns is combined with exposure and other behavioral techniques to help people confront their feared situations. For example, someone who becomes lightheaded during a panic attack and fears he/she is going to die can be helped with the following approach used in cognitive-behavioral therapy. The therapist may ask them to spin in a circle until they become dizzy. When they become alarmed and starts thinking, "I'm going to die," they learn to replace that thought with a more appropriate one, such as "It's just a little dizziness, I'll be fine."
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