The Role of Choice in Treatments for Anxiety

Empower anxiety sufferers to choose their treatment

Research shows that offering depression sufferers choices in their approach to treatment allows them to take ownership over their treatment and leads to greater success.  Now anxiety specialists have sought to determine whether a similar method might help people with anxiety, as well. Indeed, a recent study showed that patients with anxiety experience greater improvement in symptoms when they have a choice between cognitive behavior therapy, medication, or both, along with computer-assisted treatment support.

According to the National Institute for Mental Health, approximately 26% of Americans who are 18 and older have an anxiety disorder. Now, a new approach to treatment named Coordinated Anxiety Learning and Management (CALM), has been found to be effective for patients with the four most common anxiety disorders, which are:

  • Panic disorder
  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Social anxiety disorder
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

According to researchers, when patients are given a choice of their preferred treatment, the effectiveness of care is enhanced. This more flexible approach also works better to improve health-related quality of life.

Researchers conducted a randomized trial of CALM therapy in 17 primary care clinics in four U.S. cities to compare it to the usual care. Over 1,000 patients, between 18 and 75 years old, with anxiety disorders participated, receiving treatment for 3 to 12 months. Follow up occurred at 6, 12, and 18 months after the trial began, with anxiety symptoms measured via survey results.

At every follow up period, anxiety symptoms were significantly reduced for patients in the CALM group. This result was true for patients both with and without accompanying depression. Additionally, because the study made a point to include an ethnically diverse group of subjects of varied socioeconomic backgrounds, it indicates that CALM treatment could be appropriate for a wide range of patients, health professionals, and clinical settings.

Conquering anxiety doesn’t happen overnight, but it is possible to free yourself from its grip. Choosing care that suits your wants and needs may help you to regain a sense of control over your anxiety. Numerous treatments exist that could put you on the path to better emotional health, so take advantages of the choices presented to you by taking ownership of your treatment.

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