Hi. It’s Jenny at AnxietyBoss.com. Our question today is from Sandra in Mobile, Alabama. Is it actually possible to cure anxiety completely? I mean can prescribed medication really cure my anxiety forever or will it take a whole lifestyle plus tons of medication to actually cure it?
Yes, it is possible to recover from anxiety. But there is no magic pill to cure your anxiety…it takes some work to learn new coping strategies, learn new ways of thinking, develop healthy lifestyle choices, and develop prosocial behaviors to recover from anxiety. With proper treatment, a person with an anxiety disorder can lead a fully productive, happy, and successful life.
To repeat…there is no medication that you can take to cure anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders are rooted in genetic predisposition, lifestyle, maladaptive thinking, avoidant behaviors, and stressors as triggers. As such, recovery from anxiety requires work in multiple domains.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is needed to address the maladaptive thinking that contributes to the anxiety and the avoidant behaviors that maintains and worsens the anxiety. Teaching yourself CBT (self-help) has been shown to be effective for anxiety, and is quite popular.
New coping skills are needed to deal with the stressors that are triggering the anxiety disorder. Examples of coping skills include distraction, deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, yoga, meditation, reframing, journal writing, and having supportive people around you.
Lifestyle changes also have a significant impact on recovery from anxiety disorder. Good quality sleep, reduced caffeine intake, good diet, and exercise are all positive lifestyle changes which can reduce anxiety.
Despite all the attention given to medications as a cure-all, medication is a last resort treatment for anxiety disorder. Only when you have severe symptoms, or if psychotherapy is not helpful, then you can consider taking a prescription medication for anxiety. When medications are prescribed for anxiety disorder, then it can help you to recover. But it may take longer, as your anxiety is more severe and you most likely need the combination of medication and CBT. Eventually, once your anxiety has stabilized with treatment, then your doctor can start discussions with you about tapering and eventually discontinuing your medication.
If you want to consider alternatives to prescription medications for anxiety, then you can look into natural supplements. Natural supplements for anxiety, which include herbal and nutritional supplements, are gaining momentum as viable alternatives to prescription medication for the treatment of anxiety.