9 Terms to Know if You Have Anxiety

View as:|
1 of 9


Also known as “talk therapy,” psychotherapy works to help you heal from past pains and learn new ways of coping with problems in your life. This type of therapy is most helpful when problems are deep rooted but is also used for those going through a difficult time such as relationship, life or work issues. Psychotherapy is usually goal-oriented and focuses on problem solving.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is based on the belief that our thoughts shape our behaviors and feelings. Changing our thought process, therefore, can change how we act and feel. While this type of therapy may look into your past for reasons for your anxiety, it focuses on finding ways to change today’s thought process and therefore having a better future.


Benzodiazepines are quick acting anti-anxiety medications, often prescribed for those with panic attacks. These types of medications are quick acting, usually helping you feel calm within 30 minutes. They are short-acting, meaning, they work for anywhere between 4 and 12 hours, and are taken on an as-needed basis. They do not cure anxiety.


Antidepressants treat both depression and anxiety. They work to restore the chemical balance in your brain. These medications must be taken every day to be effective and it may take several weeks before you feel the effects.

Alternative treatment

The term alternative treatment refers to those treatments outside the mainstream or traditional treatment options. There are many different types of alternative treatments. Some are simple lifestyle changes, such as diet or exercise. Others are spiritual in nature, such as meditation or yoga. Other types of alternative therapies include hypnosis, acupuncture, aromatherapy, biofeedback or herbal remedies.

Relaxation techniques

Reducing anxiety often includes learning how to relax. Deep relaxation works to both prevent anxiety as well as a way to calm down once you in the throes of anxiety. Some of the common relaxation techniques include progressive muscle relaxation, deep breathing, meditation, hypnosis, music therapy or biofeedback.

Exposure therapy

Exposure therapy works by changing your reaction to fear slowly. Through a series of steps, you face your fears. For example, if you are afraid to go on a bridge, you might first look at a picture of a bridge, then stand at the foot of the bridge, then slowly begin to walk on the bridge. You don’t take the next step until you feel comfortable. This type of treatment usually takes between 8 and 16 sessions.

Virtual reality therapy

Virtual reality therapy combines 3-D computer simulations with exposure therapy. You face your fears within a computer-generated world, where your therapist can monitor the physiological changes that occur. This type of treatment is used to help those with specific phobias, agoraphobia, social anxiety disorder and posttraumatic stress disorder.


Mindfulness is focusing your energy on being completely immersed in the present moment. By being aware of what is going on right now, you put aside your worries and fears of both the past and the present. Another aspect of mindfulness is to notice and accept your thoughts, without judging them as good or bad.