CBT for Stress and Anxiety

Stress and Anxiety can take many forms, and as a result there are several different classifications of anxiety disorders, each with its own specialized Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for anxiety treatment approach. There is overwhelming research showing that CBT is the most effective treatment for anxiety problems. Follow this link to a chart comparing the effectiveness of CBT to other treatments.

Social Anxiety/Social Phobia:  Excessive anxiety and stress about negative evaluations from others. This can be a fear of public speaking, anxiety and discomfort in casual conversations or at social functions, or a general fear that others might be looking at you. Click for more information about social anxiety treatment and diagnosis.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD):  Having recurring, intrusive thoughts that are anxiety-provoking or disturbing, and hard to control. It is sometimes accompanied by behaviors attempting to neutralize the stressful thoughts, such as repeating behaviors, hoarding, and ritualistic behavior.  This is frequently confused with Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder, with is not an anxiety disorder, but a personality disorder characterized by excessive perfectionism, conscientiousness, or need for control. Click for more information about  OCD Treatment and Diagnosis.

Panic Attacks:  Panic Attacks, which are sometimes referred to as anxiety attacks, are excessive anxiety responses that can include rapid heart rate, sweating, dizziness, hyperventilation, feelings of losing control, and other extreme manifestations of anxiety. Although panic attacks and anxiety attacks themselves are not harmful, people often develop excessive fears about panic symptoms (Panic Disorder), which can lead to problems such as avoidance of important responsibilities, anxiety about leaving the house (Agoraphobia), and increased panic attacks. Click for more information about Diagnosis and Treatment of Panic Disorder

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD):  An anxiety reaction to a past trauma that involves frequent intrusive memories or flashbacks of the trauma, avoidance of things that remind the person of the trauma, and an increased proneness to negative emotion. Click for more information on Diagnosis and Treatment of PTSD or for information about trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy

Phobia:  An excessive and irrational fear of specific things or places, triggering intense distress when in contact with the feared object. Click for more information about Treatment for Phobias

Generalized Anxiety Disorder:  Persistent anxiety and worries about a number of different things that are difficult to control, and lead to a generally elevated state of anxiety and stress much of the time. This can manifest as increased stress about work, relationships, money, and others' judgments. Click for more information on Generalized anxiety Disorder Treatment and Diagnosis.

Cognitive Behavioral Treatments for Anxiety Disorders are generally very effective, with up to 70-80% of people experiencing a significant reduction in anxiety symptoms after 8 to 20 sessions.  Although CBT anxiety treatments vary by the specific problem, they usually contain some variation of the techniques below.

CBT Treatment for Anxiety and Stress May Include:

  • Physical relaxation techniques
  • Assessment and re-evaluation of problematic ways of thinking
  • Mindfulness techniques
  • Gradual exposure to feared stimuli until there is a reduction in fear
  • Treatment for insomnia
  • Acceptance strategies
  • Problem solving strategies

Click for more detailed information about CBT for specific anxiety disorders:

Social Anxiety Treatment
OCD Treatment
Panic Disorder Treatment
PTSD Treatment
Phobia Treatment
Generalized Anxiety Disorder Treatment

For more information: Los Angeles Times Article About CBT for Anxiety