When does anxiety become a disorder?
We ALL experience anxiety – we worry, we fear, and feel all kinds of stressed out. When these feelings start to get in the way of our day-to-day activities like going to school or spending time with friends, then our anxiety might be categorized as a disorder. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health concern in the United States, and most people develop symptoms before they become fully grown adults. About 1 in 4 people will experience an anxiety disorder in their lifetime, so in actuality your symptoms (or those of your child/teen) are far more common than you’d think. The good news is that online therapy for anxiety can help you to figure out if this is an anxiety disorder AND what to do about it. Yay!
What types of anxiety disorders cause problems for kids, teens, and young adults?
- Selective Mutism
- Separation Anxiety Disorder
- Specific Phobias
- Fear of Vomiting (Emetophobia)
- Spider Phobia (Arachnophobia)
- Bug Phobia (Entomophobia)
- Needle Phobia (Trypanophobia)
- Fear of the Dark (Nyctophobia)
- Social Anxiety Disorder (Social Phobia)
- Panic Attacks or Panic Disorder
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder
What is the best therapy for anxiety?
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is the gold standard for the treatment of anxiety disorders. CBT helps us to understand how thoughts (aka cognitions), feelings, and behaviors all interact. CBT helps with anxiety by identifying anxious thoughts and actions that we can change to better manage our anxious feelings.
Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) is a strategy used in CBT to change anxious behaviors such as avoidance and reassurance seeking. ERP involves gradual exposure (think: baby steps) towards the things we fear most while preventing the anxious response.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is pronounced like the word “act” as in “actor.” ACT is a type of CBT that uses mindfulness to accept emotions rather than get rid of them using unhealthy behaviors. ACT works well with older children, teens, and young adults who are struggling with anxiety.
Supportive Parenting for Anxious Childhood Emotions (SPACE) is another specific type of CBT that helps parents to manage anxious behavior from their kids or teens. SPACE treatment involves working with parents to reduce accommodation so that kids and teens can become more independent in managing their anxiety.
How does online therapy for anxiety work?
Online therapy for anxiety disorders involves a lot of learning, talking, and practicing. For younger kids (ages 3 to 12), parents might play a larger role in the treatment and might even be present for the entire session. For older kids and teens (ages 12 to 17), parents might only be present for a few minutes at the start and the end of session to help apply what was learned to the home environment. For young adults (ages 18+), sessions will be held individually. Online therapy for anxiety is wonderful because ERP practice can happen right where the anxiety is causing the most difficulty – at home, at school, or even out in the world. For the first few sessions, we will learn about each other and about how anxiety works. For the rest of treatment, we will be practicing our skills while facing our fears – and feeling fierce while we do it!
When to Seek Help
If you, your child, or your teen might be struggling with an anxiety disorder, it might be time to bring in a professional to figure out what’s be going on. Anxiety often presents as worry or fear, but it might also present as irritability and anger. Contact Brave Young Minds to schedule a FREE 15-minute consultation to determine if online therapy might be a good fit. If you’re ready to schedule an evaluation right now, request an appointment today.