Exposure Therapy for Anxiety

Exposure Therapy for Anxiety

Does your anxiety limit your ability to fully enjoy your life? You wouldn’t be the only one. Every day, someone out there loses to the incessant fears that plague their daily peace of mind.

Unmanaged anxiety often only gets worse when it goes unaddressed. It can become so intense that you avoid anything that triggers it. This can become a problem for someone with situational anxiety or fears that cause them to stop showing up in their daily life.

No one wants to be dictated by their anxiety. If your anxiety is used as an excuse to turn down opportunities and avoid risks, the problem tends to compound over time. In many cases, it affects your relationships, career, and even your physical health. If you feel caged by daily anxiety and struggle to live life on your own terms, exposure therapy might be able to help.

 

What is Exposure Therapy?

Exposure therapy is a form of cognitive behavioral therapy that aims to help people overcome their fears, phobias, and anxieties. If you’re someone who struggles with social anxiety, you know just how difficult it can be to do something that others seem to have no problem with. Through various techniques, exposure therapy for anxiety works to reduce anxiety that is induced by specific situations. 

Exposure therapy with a therapist involves gradual exposure to a situation or experience that typically brings you fear or anxiety. As counterintuitive as it sounds, this is a highly effective way to reduce anxiety and teaches you how to manage your response to difficult experiences. This can be a life-changing technique for someone who feels controlled by their anxiety.

How It Works

Some people have the wrong idea about exposure therapy. It’s not a quick fix, and successful exposure therapy requires safety and repetition. Exposure therapy for anxiety is a sequence of steps that are performed under the guidance of a therapist who can provide a safe space and walk you through the process. When exposure therapy is effective, it works to rewire your brain in fearful situations and can even remove fears completely.

 

Take Control of Anxiety with Exposure Therapy

Anxiety isn’t inherently bad. It’s your own special alert system and it serves a worthy purpose when you’re in real trouble. Anxiety becomes a problem when it takes over your life and begins to cause other health problems. This is the reality of unmanaged anxiety, and it continues to affect your life until you’re ready to address it.

People with anxiety will often try to avoid the situations that give them anxiety to keep them safe, but this method of coping can be at a great detriment to the success of your life. Once you learn to face the fears that limit your potential, you can discover true freedom on the other side.

Exposure therapy can help you break the habit of limiting yourself. It breaks down the barriers that keep you from experiencing everything you want in life that your anxiety has convinced you that you can’t have. Here are just a few ways your life can improve with the help of exposure therapy.

Social Skills

Social anxiety can be debilitating, and those who have it understand that it’s more than just “being shy”. Simple tasks like going to the grocery store can feel like a huge burden and causes panic in extreme cases. Exposure therapy will teach you how to relax in social situations and makes communication easier.

Self-Trust and Independence

People with anxiety often deal with the constant self-doubt. This isn’t a good feeling, and it can cause you to feel overly dependent on others to satisfy your needs. The cycle of dependence makes anxiety worse and so the pattern lives on.

Lack of self-trust often comes from a past experience where we made a faulty decision and paid the price for it. Exposure therapy can help you find that trust in yourself again. Through repeatedly overcoming your fears, you prove to yourself that you’ve got your own back.

Resilience and Confidence

Life is full of challenges. No matter how easy others may make it look, everyone is battling their own unique set of struggles. Exposure therapy doesn’t work to eliminate your problems, but it does teach you to feel safe enough to face them. When you learn how to face your fears, it opens the door to doing the uncomfortable things that ultimately improve your life.

 

Exposure Therapy is Best Performed with a Therapist

While anyone can choose to do exposure therapy on their own, this DIY method can potentially make anxiety worse. Unless you have mild anxiety and believe you can overcome your fears on your own, it’s best performed and most successful in a professional setting. Your therapist is trained to provide a safe container and guide you through the discomfort of facing your anxiety.

Get Support

Feeling confident within your life is something everyone deserves. You don’t have to face your fears alone. You don’t have to live your life shackled by the limitations of your mind. Our psychologists are trained to provide a safe, healing space for disorders like anxiety, PTSD, and OCD.

Here at Dr. Messina and Associates, our compassionate team of professionals are qualified to help you at our Flower Mound, Texas, and Southlake, Texas, offices. Our Psychologists, Psychiatrists, and Counselors specialize in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), psychological testing, and medication management for a variety of emotional and behavioral health needs. All services are available in-person and online (telehealth). If you or a loved one are seeking help with mental health, we are here to help.

Author
Dr. Michael Messina

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