Several methods are very effective at controlling anxiety. Anxiety can mean many different things to different people, and the best method for controlling anxiety will be structured around each person's condition. While some people have mild cases of anxiety that can be controlled through self help, other people may need to work with a therapist. In other cases, a person may need medication to treat anxiety.
A person can suffer from generalized anxiety disorder, in which a feeling of stress and worry can interfere with day-to-day life. Someone can also suffer from panic or anxiety attacks. A person with panic attacks will experience episodes of intense worry. Symptoms of a panic attack include chest pain and a racing heart, a choking feeling, and dizziness. The attacks usually last for less than half an hour and can occur during a tense time, such as right before meeting with a big client or when someone is trapped in an unpleasant situation. Other types of anxiety include phobias and obsessive compulsive disorder.
One method for controlling anxiety is to try to make positive changes in a person's life. In some cases, anxiety is caused not by an underlying disorder but simply because someone has taken on too much responsibility. Some people may find that they can control their anxiety by learning to relax, such as by taking yoga classes or meditating. Other learn that controlling anxiety means cutting back on work or activities and avoiding certain chemicals such as caffeine or alcohol.
If self help does not lessen someone's anxiety, he should see his doctor for help controlling anxiety. Some people benefit from psychotherapy such as cognitive behavior therapy. When someone undergoes cognitive behavioral therapy, she learns to re-evaluate the things that cause her stress and anxiety and to change her reactions during anxiety-provoking situations.
Exposure therapy is often an effective method for controlling anxiety caused by a phobia. During exposure therapy, a person confronts the feared object or situation, but in a safe environment. Usually, exposure is a gradual process. For instance, a person who experiences anxiety in response to spiders may first be shown a picture of a spider, then a film about spiders, and finally a spider in a cage.
Some people need medication to control anxiety or a combination of medication and therapy. In some cases, antidepressants are the best method for controlling anxiety. A few people may take medications designed to deal with anxiety specifically, but these medications are often habit forming and so are usually used for short periods of time.