Therapy Alone Is Better Than Meds or Combined Approach for Treating Anxiety, Says New Research



A new study found that cognitive therapy alone is the most effective treatment for anxiety, beating both medication-only and combined medication and therapy.  The ten-year study found that 85% of people who received CBT alone for anxiety had successful treatment outcomes, which was a significantly higher recovery rate than either those who are treated with medication alone or with medication and therapy.

The reason, researchers point out, is that people who are treated with meds (either alone or combined with therapy) tend to rely too much on their medication to cure them.  As a result, they tend not to work as hard to learn and use the anxiety-busting techniques they can gain from therapy. According to researchers…

Many patients with social anxiety disorder are treated with a combination of talk therapy and medication, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), said Nordahl. However, these drugs may do more harm than good for these particular patients. He says that while SSRIs often work well in patients with depressive disorders, they actually have the opposite effect in people with social anxiety disorders.  SSRIs often have strong physical side effects as well. When patients have been on medications for some time and want to reduce them, the bodily feelings associated with social phobia, like shivering, flushing, and dizziness in social situations tend to return. Patients often end up in a state of severe social anxiety again.  “Patients often rely more on the medication and don’t place as much importance on therapy. They think it’s the drugs that will make them healthier, and they become dependent on something external rather than learning to regulate themselves. So the medication camouflages a very important patient discovery: that by learning effective techniques, they have the ability to handle their anxiety themselves,” says Nordahl. READ MORE

To learn more about faithful approaches to treating stress, anxiety and worry, check out God Help Me, This Stress is Driving Me Crazy or contact the Pastoral Solutions Institute (740-266-6461) to learn more about how our Catholic tele-counseling practice can help you cultivate a more peaceful heart.


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