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Cognitive Therapy for Anxiety

Hello, I'm about 90 days into what is believed to be Anxiety. I had my first appointment with a psychologist yesterday. Being my first time I'm not familiar with the process and  I expect to learn more as the process continues. I imagine it went as a typical first time visit would go, just a beginning. I do believe I feel comfortable with him which is good.I guess I didn't realize there are different types of therapists. He explained he is a cognitive therapist and explained it a bit. My question is this the best type of therapy for Anxiety? A basic search turned up a site that claimed only a 50% success rate for Cognitive therapy for GAD which was his first impression of my condition. I do not feel normal then have spikes of anxiety, I haven't had a "normal" day since this started. I do have spikes from the already elevated level of physical symptoms of a adrenaline type feeling and headaches. I know I do worry out of proportion on some things and it could help this but I'm not sure about the base level of anxiety. I thought getting to a root cause would be key and I recall he said it may never be found. I leave the door wide open that my preconceived ideas of what the therapy would be are incorrect. One thing I do always read is people with anxiety can be real irrateable, I've been actually less? I suppose one need not have all the symptoms.

My 2nd question is can Anxiety lead to depression? I would think it would be normal for some level of depression to accompany anxiety as it's been quite a battle so far but I'm not sure if can actually induce clinical depression. A week or so ago my anxiety bordered on unbearable and I saw my primary and he believes the Buspar wasn't working and started me on Lexapro and gave me some Klonopin for a as needed basis. The idea of Buspar didn't bother me, the Lexapro does a little and the Klonopin creates a bit of anxiety just reading what I've read here. I took one .5mg pill one day, two the next and the edge went away enough that I took none yesterday and hope that's it. Not sure on the Lexapro, I feel more tired, but it's only been five days, I feel it's dampened my sex drive too. I do believe the tiredness and sex drive are also signs of depression? My sex drive has still been there thru this untill the past five days. Perhaps the Lexapro? Perhaps a case of worrying something into existance? I have always hoped to get thru this med free and still hope to end it that way but it got bad enough to try them. I do think if the Lexapro doesn't work I'll see a psychiatrist for a med reccomendation. I really like my primary and a doc I have been seeing for sinus issues has been of great help with general support and pointing me towards good Doctors and suggested I see a psychiatrist if I have a hard time with meds perscribed by my primary (who he also referred me too when my old one moved). This whole thing has been quite humbling. Thanks for the service and please excuse the long post.
12 Responses
242532 tn?1269553979
It's a long, good post. the answer will be short...cognitive therapy with a good therapist is the best thing you can do for yourself, and you should be able to identify and deal with the source in that kind of therapy...I would suggest you stay away from the Lexapro unless absolutely necessary.
Avatar universal
hello there,

I am sorry to hear of your anxiety.  I too suffer from pretty bad anxiety which at times can either just be a minor inconvenience or send me spiraling into the abyss of terror.  I have been in both talk "psychoanalysis" therapy as well as currently CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy).  Basically the difference is talk therapy is someeone who is going to ask you questions and try to get you to work out your own problems by offering a different perspective or objective comfort whereas CBT is when a therapist usually with a PhD, is going to assess your anxiety and then give you tools and teach you skills to challenge your anxious thoughts and cognitive distortions. I find it to be very helpful but you have to be willing to work with it.  The only downfall is that it can be expensive and possibly not covered by insurance.  My CBT costs me $150 per session.

YES!!! ABSOLUTELY!! AXIETY LEADS TO DEPRESSION...To be scientifically accurate, anxiety and depression go hand in hand in most cases.  Research depression and anxiety and you will see that most people have both symptoms.  I am in the nursing field and have experience with administering as well as personally taking anti-depressants.  My advice to you is if you can work through your problems with some psychological interventions such as therapy, exercise, hobbies, and things you enjoy then this is your best option. Only resort to anti-depressants if you are beyond non-pharmocolgical interventions such as on the verge of a breakdown or feel like harming yourself or others.  Medication is like a band-aid it helps for a short while however then the side-effects become a real let down. Weight gain, increased sweating/flushing, sexual side effects, etc...are very likely and quite discouraging.

You are not alone..there are millions of ppl who are going through the same thing, including myself. I wish you the very best of luck and I hope that you find a helpful path to recovery.  Stay strong! You CAN fight this and get your life back.
Avatar universal

Thank you for sharing your experience and thoughts, it is appreciated. The therapist is a PHD and I'm pretty sure my insurance will cover it. If not I'll find a way to make it work. I'm open and 100% committed to doing whatever it takes to beat this. I've never had thoughts of injuring myself or others although I read people can become suicidal and of course it is a worry that one day I could come to that point even though I can't imagine it. At this point I feel the meds are neccesary although the lexapro hasn't appeared to help much after a week of taking it. The week prior to starting them was right on the edge of unbearable and I still need to work etc. Thanks again.
Avatar universal
Since I am "new" to the anxiety thing too, well, relatively new, I don't have a lot of advice to give as I am still working on accepting it for myself.  But I did want to let you know that I was on lexapro for about nine months.  I remember about  5 weeks after I started on it I was at a near panic attack when I was out on a boat for my mom's birthday.  I thought, this stuff is junk, it doesn't help.  But that day went by and slowly (more than the 4-6 weeks for me) the days got better and the anxiety got less.  I still swore that it wasn't working though and it wasn't until I weaned off of it that I realized how much it actually was working.

After all that rambling I just wanted to let you know that it takes a while to get in your system and start working for you.

Good luck and I wish you success.
Avatar universal
SSRI's like Lexapro are the first line treatment for anxiety/panic disorders, most depression and OCD. I don't know how long you were taking the Buspirone, but it takes about a month to reach full effect.  If you only took it a week or two & quit then you didn't give it a chance.  Some people find it effective, some don't.  It is worth a fair try, though, because benzodiazepines like klonopin & xanax are addictive & you will build tolerance requiring higher doses.  Don't take them unless you absolutely have to and even then, give yourself a drug-free holiday for a few days every now and then

I disagree with not taking meds until it's so bad you want to hurt yourself or can't function.  It's no different than someone with diabetes - that is - it's a chemical imbalance that can be corrected in this wonderful day of technology by a simple pill-a-day.  JUST DO IT.  That's not to say you should jump on a drug bandwagon as a happy pill.  CBT is very good for anxiety and if it can help you to be without medications then more power to you.

One last thing.  You cannot take Lexapro just as needed.  It is an SSRI & takes about one month to reach the effective steady-state dose in your bloodstream.  You must take it everyday for 4-6 weeks before you will know if it is really starting to work.  JUST DO IT.  You will likely feel much better soon and you can get off this website and live your life.  

-headshrinker, MD-

PS, nervous nicki - I don't know where you live but $150/Hr is a bit high for a PhD therapist, no?
Avatar universal
Thanks everybody for their response. I've been taking the Buspar for about eight or nine weeks now. It may be helping but if it is it's marginal. I'm not using the lexapro as needed, just the klonopin, Hopefully the therapy will work long term and a med till I get there. One thing I find most troubling is I don't find a lot of success stories from people via the net with their anxiety. I'm not sure if it's because they aren't out looking for info and posting or if the success rate just isn't very high. I find the web very informative but sometimes I think I should avoid reading more about anxiety treatments, meds etc.
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