A healthy amount of anxiety is good for work but excess anxiety leads to a number of health problems and poor mental health. Like physical health, mental health should also be considered equally important. Anxiety issues are on a rise in Singapore. Anxiety may arise from different problems and lead to different disorders. The leading treatments for anxiety counselling in Singapore include therapies and medications. We will talk about the various approaches to cure anxiety.
Types of Therapy
Some of the common therapies applied for anxiety are as follows:
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy(CBT)
CBT is the most common therapy for counselling in Singapore. CBT concerns your thoughts and not your current situation which affects how you feel and behave. The technique of CBT is to identify your negative psychology and inefficient behavioral patterns and replace them with more optimistic and realistic thoughts and effective actions. Your therapist acts as your teacher teaching you coping strategies. You learn to identify your triggers and apply the suitable coping mechanism.
Along with CBT, exposure theory is also a widely used therapy for counselling in Singapore. The belief is that if a person is afraid of something, he should face it rather than shy away from it. During this process, your therapist gradually subjects you to your objects/situations of fear. The technique involved, “systematic desensitization”, has three steps-
Relax: Relaxation techniques to fight anxiety. Some techniques are progressive muscle relaxation, deep breathing, meditation and guided imagery.
List: Creating a list of your type of triggers and raking them in terms of extremity.
Exposure: The patient practises to face the trigger situations and cope with the relaxation techniques. The ways the therapist expose you to your anxiety are-
- Imaginal Exposure: Vividly imagine the objects or situations that provoke anxiety in you.
- In vivo Exposure: You face the trigger situations for real in your life. E.g. If you have social anxiety, you may be asked to give a public speech.
- Virtual Reality exposure: When in vivo exposure can’t be carried out, virtual reality can be used, combining aspects from in vivo and imaginal exposure.
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy(DBT)
It is a form of CBT used to treat anxiety for counselling in Singapore. It helps you to accept anxiety as a part of your life while working to cure it, that’s why the name “dialectical” (opposition). It teaches you four powerful skills- mindfulness(notice anxiety without being controlled by them), distress tolerance(managing anxiety under stress), interpersonal effectiveness(and emotion regulation.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy(ACT)
ACT is another form of therapy which teaches you to learn values in life and act accordingly.
Another form of therapy used for counselling in Singapore, it is a non-verbal, experience oriented therapy, using visual art, creativity to express and practise mindfulness and relaxation. It builds self confidence and social skills too.
It believes anxiety is a reflection of unconscious conflicts and its purpose is to resolve them. You study your thoughts and fears to understand how you regard yourself and can reduce anxiety. It is the most intensive form of treatment.
It is used if your anxiety is due to relationships with other persons. You and your therapist identify if there are any interpersonal issues in your life like conflicts, grief and other problems with any person. It teaches you to develop healthy ways to better communicate with other people in your life.
Some of the complementary theories are:
Exercise: Research shows that 30 minutes of exercise 3-5 times a week significantly reduces anxiety.
Relaxation techniques: Mindfulness meditation, progressive muscle relaxation increases emotional well being.
Biofeedback: Sensors to measure biological factors like heart rate, breathing and muscle tension helps you recognize your body’s anxiety response and control it with relaxation techniques.
Hypnosis: When you are in a state of deep relaxation, the hypnotherapist exposes you to your fears to tackle them in new ways.
Animal Assisted Therapy
The patient spends time with a trained therapy pet. Some hospitals and nursing homes use therapy pets for treatment. Spending time with them gives relief from anxiety.
Another type used for counselling in Singapore is group therapy where persons suffering from the same issue form a group and share their problems, experiences. It makes people aware that they aren’t alone and can help support each other.
Depending on the severity of anxiety, many psychiatrists for counselling in Singapore may recommend you to take medications. It helps you manage symptoms of anxiety and increase your quality of life.
Some common medications used to treat anxiety are-
Benzodiazepines- Relax and calm minds.
Buspirone- Alter chemicals in the brain which control mood.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors(SSRI) – Antidepressants
Tricyclic antidepressants- Similar to SSRI, starts with a low dose with gradual increase.
Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)- Boost the body’s serotonin and norepinephrine levels by preventing their reuptake.
Some other ways to process your anxiety levels are regular check ups to assess if there’s any health issue triggering anxiety.
Apart from these, the bottom line is to prioritize self care. Amidst a busy schedule, try to make time for your favorite pastimes and interact with your favorite persons. It relaxes your body and reboots you for a new start.