Cognitive-behavioral therapy has proven to be an effective treatment for several different types of anxiety disorders. The cognitive aspect of this therapy helps people change thinking patterns that keep them from overcoming their fears. The behavioral component seeks to change people's reactions to anxiety-provoking situations. A key element of this component is exposure, in which people confront the things they fear.
Research has shown that cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is an effective anxiety treatment for several anxiety disorders, particularly panic disorder and social phobia.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy involves talking with a trained mental health professional (such as a psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker, or counselor) to learn how to deal with problems like anxiety disorders.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy has two components:
The cognitive component helps people change thinking patterns that keep them from overcoming their fears.
For example, a person with panic disorder might be helped to see that his or her panic attacks are not really heart attacks, as previously feared. The tendency to put the worst possible interpretation on physical symptoms can be overcome. Similarly, a person with social phobia might be helped to overcome the belief that others are continually watching and harshly judging him or her.