Multiple studies conducted by the Anxiety & Depression Association of America (ADAA) have shed light on the prevalence of anxiety in our modern world. Most of these studies indicate that anyone can suffer from anxiety at some point.
Online therapy is emerging as a viable, comfortable, and more affordable solution to overcoming anxiety. This article explores how virtual therapy helps to achieve mental well-being and learn how to cope with anxiety.
Anxiety – Is It Common?
Anxiety is very common – from unease before an exam or a big event to worrying about our future. However, this feeling sometimes becomes overwhelming and affects our well-being – this is when it may be diagnosed as an anxiety disorder.
Everyone experiences anxiety at some point in their life. For some, anxiety can be temporary; for others, it can become much more extreme to the point that it affects their daily lives.
For example, the Anxiety and Depression Association of America states that anxiety affects over 3% of the adult US population, but less than half receive treatment. Also, women are twice as likely to struggle with anxiety as men. Statistics become even more concerning regarding children – over 31% of all children between 13 and 18 years old struggle with anxiety disorders.
In addition to this, anxiety is often associated with a co-occurring disorder, which can make symptoms worse and treatment more difficult. Examples include obsessive-compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder.
The main types of anxiety include:
- GAD – known as generalized anxiety disorder, this includes worrying about life excessively.
- Panic disorder – this may come with intense fear and panic attacks.
- Social anxiety disorder – anxiety and fear of social interactions.
- Anxiety due to phobias – some people may experience extreme anxiety when in specific situations (such as claustrophobia).
Apart from the emotional symptoms, anxiety can also lead to physical symptoms, such as insomnia and headaches.
Does Online Therapy Work with Anxiety?
Anxiety disorders are treatable. They can be easily managed with the help of a professional, and the traditional methods of treating anxiety disorders include therapy and medication.
However, the success of the treatment depends on a variety of factors. For example, some people may feel relief after a few weeks of therapy, while others may only improve after a few months. This could be due to other co-existing disorders or the type of anxiety disorder they suffer.
While online psychologist therapy is not a one-size-fits-all solution, it is emerging as a viable solution for those seeking mental health support. In addition, evidence suggests that online therapy is as effective as face-to-face interactions.
One reason behind this is that anxiety is often treated using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, which can be conducted efficiently in a virtual environment. More specifically, CBT consists of learning how one’s emotions, thoughts, and behaviors all interact and helps the individual change harmful thinking patterns and tolerate anxiety.
How Can Anxiety Be Treated Virtually?
As briefly mentioned above, anxiety is treated virtually in a very similar way to traditional therapy. The main difference is that the therapy sessions are conducted virtually – via a digital platform – and the communication methods may vary – while during face-to-face therapy, the communication is verbal, online therapy can also be conducted via phone calls and texting, not only video calls.
Even more importantly, online therapy has multiple benefits over face-to-face therapy, such as:
- Accessibility and flexibility – you no longer need to commute to a physical office. You can benefit from mental health support from the comfort of your own home, which is valuable for those living in remote areas or with mobility issues.
- Privacy – online therapy is highly valuable for those who may not feel comfortable or stigmatized to seek therapy. Also, it could be a preferred alternative for those suffering from social anxiety disorder who may not feel comfortable talking to a therapist face-to-face.
- Easy to find specialized support – a plethora of digital platforms offer mental health care, so it is easy to find specialists for specific issues, such as anxiety.
- Affordability – online therapy can be more affordable than in-person therapy. You can customize your subscription plan and benefit from free resources like journaling, worksheets, educational articles, and many more.
- Ideal for the tech-savvy generation – with smartphones at people’s fingertips at any time, mental health therapy via virtual platforms makes the entire process feel familiar and comfortable.
Challenges of Treating Anxiety Virtually
Treating anxiety virtually may not be the perfect solution for everyone. For instance, if you are not familiar with technology or prefer the coziness of a face-to-face session, the lack of personal touch could be a major drawback.
Also, a few elements are absent in this virtual world – such as the presence of another human next to you or the comfort of a physical office.
Finally, virtual therapy sessions are not recommended if you need medication or there is an emergency.
Online therapy is undeniably changing the world of mental healthcare, especially for conditions like anxiety. Thanks to digital connectivity, online therapy is breaking down barriers of accessibility, cost, and stigma.
Achieving a state of calm and well-being is not easy, but the emergence of digital healthcare platforms is changing how people see and use such services. As technology continues to evolve, effective, compassionate support is becoming available for everyone, no matter where they may be.