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Online Newsletter Committed to Excellence in the Fields of Mental Health, Addiction, Counseling, Social Work, and Nursing

Evidence Based Treatments and Anxiety Disorders

Matt Hiltibran February 12, 2024 Anxiety, treatment

There has gradually been the growing movement towards the adoption and use of evidence-based treatment (EBT) options given the positive therapeutic outcomes that can be achieved. The implementation of evidence based treatments (EBTs) has been shown to help improve a wide array of mental conditions and improve overall well-being. The treatments are designed to address a person’s individual needs, priorities, values, preferences, and goals for therapy. In many cases, EBTs can work quickly and effectively or can take weeks to months to produce a full effect depending on the severity and nature of the symptoms.  As the need for mental health services continue to grow so has the use of EBT to provide symptoms control of mental health disorders.  An example of a mental health disorder that impact a significant number of the population is anxiety or anxiety disorder (e.g., generalized anxiety disorder, phobic disorder or panic disorder). Anxiety disorders are considered to be common and can be disabling conditions that can begin during childhood, adolescence and early adulthood (Craske & Stein, 2016; Penninx et al., 2021).  According to the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2015, anxiety disorders were ranked sixth place among all mental and somatic illnesses worldwide as a cause for so-called years lived with disability and  fourth place in highly developed countries (Ströhle  et al., 2018).The majority of anxiety disorder can impact twice as many men as men and can occur with other mental health conditions, substance use disorders, or personality disorders (Ströhle  et al., 2018).The clinical manifestations of an anxiety disorder can be dependent on the type or diagnosis. For instance, generalized anxiety disorder can present with anxious worry, tension and fears about everyday events and problems and panic disorder can present with repeated and unexpected panic attacks both with physical and mental manifestations.

 

In addition, it is important that an EBT specifically works to target the core symptoms of the anxiety disorder to provide relief to those individual who struggle with these on an ongoing basis. Individuals who are diagnosed with an anxiety disorder have to live with this condition given that it is life-long with no cure; the intervention has to bring balance to a person’s life. An example of an EBT that has been shown to be successful with anxiety disorder is mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) which combines the core principles of cognitive therapy with meditative practices in order to aid patients with practicing mindfulness. It incorporates the essence of Eastern mindfulness into Western cognitive behavioral therapy (Hoffman & Gomez, 2017).  Research studies have demonstrates that individuals that are struggling with anxiety often present with negative thoughts and experiences that originate from the past and this can cause them to worry about the future to further exacerbate their symptoms. The aim of MBCT is to decrease psychopathological suffering that includes a desensitization of condition responses through mindfulness and the use of traditional CBT. Through the use of mindfulness that can includes activities such as stretching, body scan, yoga a person can locate their thoughts and mood patterns  to bring better awareness of how to regulate them. MBCT can be considered a good approach to take to treat anxiety disorder because it helps people to become aware of their mind, body, spirit, identify the various challenges that they can experience, and learn to cope with these symptoms that can arise on any given day. In addition, MBCT is largely built on the success of CBT and has a similar model for understanding health anxiety to offer the potential for change in a different way for those who are diagnosed with this condition (Suraway et al., 2015). As a result of its combination of mindfulness through the implantation of meditation practices along with psychoeducation elements that come from CBT, it has garnered significant attention as an approach that can be successfully use to treat the symptoms of anxiety.

While anxiety disorder can be viewed as common and distressing for many people around the world, there is hope in the form of EBTs that are focused on providing symptom control. The worry, fear, and tension that people with anxiety experiences can be reduced through the implementation of therapeutic approaches that have been evaluated and have demonstrated good outcomes. It is important for providers to take all of the research and evidence that is available into consideration when it comes to determining the best course of action to take for any patient.

 

Author

Abimbola Farinde,PhD.,PharmD

 

References

 Craske, M. G., & Stein, M. B. (2016). Anxiety. Lancet (London, England)388(10063), 3048–3059. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(16)30381-6

 

Hofmann, S. G., & Gómez, A. F. (2017). Mindfulness-based interventions for anxiety and depression. The Psychiatric Clinics of North America40(4), 739–749. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psc.2017.08.008

 

Penninx, B. W., Pine, D. S., Holmes, E. A., & Reif, A. (2021). Anxiety disorders. Lancet (London, England)397(10277), 914–927. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(21)00359-7

 

Ströhle, A., Gensichen, J., & Domschke, K. (2018). The diagnosis and treatment of anxiety disorders. Deutsches Arzteblatt International155(37), 611–620. https://doi.org/10.3238/arztebl.2018.0611

 

Surawy, C., McManus, F., Muse, K., & Williams, J. M. (2015). Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) for health anxiety (hypochondriasis): Rationale, implementation and case illustration. Mindfulness6(2), 382–392. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-013-0271-1

 

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