Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT, is a type of therapy often used to treat anxiety and depression. It is a behavior based therapy, and one that works to reduce triggers and improve thought patterns when anxious feeling arise. If you are suffering from anxiety or depression, or a combination of both, you may benefit from CBT is a great way to begin your path to recovery. Whether you need medication to help you overcome hurdles and make progress in therapy will be up to you and your treatment providers.
The Basics of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
This form of therapy works to reduce your negative thought patterns, by replacing these thoughts with more realistic ones. For example, you may be worried about paying your bills. A negative thought pattern would be that you're never going to be able to pay your bills, you will never catch up and that you will lose everything. In CBT, you will work on a more realistic thought pattern such as, I am capable of paying my bills. I will be alright if I just keep on working. You will learn how to develop a plan, and to have trust in the plans that you make. To reduce anxious and depressive thoughts, you will need to work closely with your therapist to identify these thoughts. Once you are able to see what your negative thought patterns are, you can begin the process of retraining yourself.
When Medications are Used in Conjunction with Therapy
Medications can help you reduce severe anxiety or depression, providing you with the ability to work in cognitive behavioral therapy. Sometimes your symptoms may be too difficult to overcome, and that's when medication can give you the boost you need to begin working on treatment. Medications to treat depression and anxiety include SSRIs such as paxil, citalopram and prozac. These medications must be taken every day and require several weeks before you reach a therapeutic dose. Emergency medications to reduce anxiety include ativan, valium, and other benzodiazepines. This type of medication works quickly to reduce symptoms of anxiety, and is used when patients are suffering from panic attacks or an increase in their anxiety symptoms.
Whether you choose to use medication and CBT together should be a decision made by you in consultation with your treatment provider. Both CBT and medication can be very useful tools in reducing your anxiety and depression, allowing you to feel more productive and content with your life.
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