We are fortunate. We live in a time where we have access to effective drug-free treatments for anxiety. Although talk therapy is an essential healing approach for many, it may not always be the right choice for treating anxiety.
This can leave those who struggle with anxiety wondering what to do. It’s especially true if they are in search of drug-free treatments for anxiety.
If this applies to you, be assured, there are effective, drug-free methods available to treat anxiety. These modalities take anxiety treatment a step further by going beyond talk therapy to utilize other resources that you might not have even realized existed.
Consider some of these anxiety treatment options.
Skill And Tools: Drug -Free Treatments For Anxiety
Sometimes we can overthink things (analysis paralysis). And sometimes we can talk problems to death.
Life rewards action. Fortunately, not all therapy is what people commonly call “talk therapy”. Some anxiety treatment modalities focus on teaching you tools to break the cycle of anxiety naturally. They do this by helping you learn two things:
- How you habitually (and often non-consciously) make yourself anxious
- Effective, practical tools to calm your body and mind
Skills based therapy can be life changing. It’s great for people who want to learn how to recover from anxiety naturally. And clients who are up for practicing skills outside of session, tend to benefit a lot.
Anxiety symptoms can correctly be viewed as habits that our bodies, brains and minds develop. So one way to minimize, or avoid the risks of taking psychiatric drugs, is by learning how to break your emotional habits. This is done by mastering emotional management skills.
Drugs only work if you take them. But by learning skills in therapy, you’ll have tools you can take with you throughout life.
Tapping Into Your Sense of Smell with Aromatherapy
One drug-free way you can treat anxiety is through aromatherapy. To some, this self help approach might sound a bit “new -agey”. But bear with me, I have had few clients who swear by it. Aromatherapy taps into your sense of smell. It involves using essential oils, especially lavender, which is very calming.
Using calming scents can help with relieving anxiety both in the moment when it occurs and long-term. For instance, you could keep a small bottle of lavender oil with you at all times. When you being to feel anxious, it’s a simple matter of reaching for the oil and inhaling it as you take deep, slow breaths. The great thing is that you can use this method anywhere you go.
At home, you can light a scented candle in the evening to unwind and relax before bedtime. Plus, your therapist could also use a candle or a wall plug-in device that releases lavender scent during your session.
The clients I’ve worked with all benefited from creating a kind of a practice. They created a structured meditation based on their sense of smell. For example, one woman scheduled a few 5 minute aromatherapy session every day. She thought of this as a kind of “mindfulness mini meditation”, and described to me how the strong, clear scent she used, helped to cut through her rattled mind.
Years before working with me, she had participated in a Dialectical Behavioral Therapy training. This psychotherapy treatment modality is one that seeks to teach clients emotional regulation skills. In one of their workshops, she learned various methods of using her five senses to break the cycle of emotional upset.
She chose to use her sense of smell as a way to calm her stressed out body, focus her jumpy mind, and distract her from worries.
Utilizing Your Brain’s Processing Power Through EMDR
Another drug-free treatment for anxiety is eye movement desensitization and reprocessing, or EMDR therapy.
During treatment sessions, your therapist will utilize bilateral stimulation, (rhythmic eye movements) to activate parts of your brain that allow you to process and resolve difficult therapeutic issues. This modality is particularly helpful if traumatic memories and experiences are fueling your anxiety.
EMDR goes beyond talk therapy in that you don’t always have to discuss your memories and trauma with the therapist. Rather, they will commonly ask you to bring up those memories in your mind—quietly, to yourself.
Research has shown that EMDR is an effective, drug-free methods for treatment, and I have seen it benefit a lot of clients.
Leading Edge, Drug-Free Treatments For Anxiety : Train Your Brain with Neurofeedback
Neurofeedback therapy is also a drug-free treatment for anxiety that does not involve talk therapy. One of the interesting things about neurofeedback therapy is that you see your brain patterns in real-time.
During sessions, the therapist gently places eeg sensors on your head. These lead to a monitor. Once the monitor is turned on, you see your brainwave patterns displayed on the screen. You can also see how your brainwaves change as you react to different circumstances, such as an anxiety-inducing situation.
The really fascinating thing about neurofeedback therapy is that it allows you and your therapist to train your brain. This can be accomplished through neurofeedback’s use of powerful healing mechanisms: conditioning and mirroring. This means that the eeg equipment used, shows your brain what it’s doing, and teaches it to be more calm and focused.
Creating a Relationship with Your Therapist
To successfully utilize these drug-free treatments for anxiety, you must develop a solid relationship with your therapist. An effective anxiety counselor should be someone who has the knowledge and training to go beyond talk therapy and utilize these alternative anxiety treatments.
An adept anxiety therapist will understand that developing a trusting relationship with you is key for these drug-free treatments to be effective. So, take the time to do your research, ask questions, and be honest with your therapist when they have questions for you.
It’s understandable that you want to use drug-free treatments for anxiety. Many healthcare providers used to think that psychiatric drugs were the only solution for a lot of issues. Yet, now we know there are so many options available to both patients and therapists that are effective, drug-free methods.
If you are interested in getting help and resolving your anxiety without drugs, contact me for more information or read about my approach to anxiety treatment by clicking on the link.