Skip to main content

The medical definition of anxiety provided in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary is “an abnormal and overwhelming sense of apprehension and fear often marked by physical signs (such as tension, sweating, and increased pulse rate), by doubt concerning the reality and nature of the threat, and by self-doubt about one’s capacity to cope with it.” Anxiety is the body’s natural response to stress. While experiencing mild, and/ or fleeting symptoms of anxiety is unavoidable, when pervasive anxiety interferes with one’s ability to function in daily life it may be indicative of an anxiety disorder. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) asserts: “Anxiety disorders are a group of related conditions, each having unique symptoms. However, all anxiety disorders have one thing in common: persistent, excessive fear or worry in situations that are not threatening.” There are currently five distinct types of anxiety disorders listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5). Empirical data suggests that anxiety disorders are most effectively treated with psychological therapy, pharmacotherapy, or a combination of both.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) was developed in the 1960s by psychiatrist, Aaron Beck. It is a structured, short-term form of psychotherapy. CBT is based on the notion that thoughts and behaviors influence feelings; therefore, shifting the way one thinks and reacts to situations can subsequently improve one’s emotional demeanor. Cognitive behavioral therapy focuses on specific problems and utilizes a goal-oriented approach. In CBT, a therapist will encourage his or her client to discuss his or her troubling thoughts and/ or feelings. The steps of CBT include the following, provided by Psychology Today:

  1. Identify troubling situations and/ or conditions in your life (e.g., divorce, a medical condition, anger, grief, etc.). 
  2. Become aware of your emotions, thoughts, and beliefs connected to these troubling situations.
  3. Identify inaccurate and/ or negative thinking that may be contributing to your troubles.
  4. Reshape inaccurate and/ or negative thinking. To help facilitate this step, a therapist may encourage you to ask yourself if your view of the situation is based off an inaccurate perception of the situation or off facts. 

The way CBT works is that through therapy, an individual will learn to understand that the way they behave has a direct correlation with their personal attitudes and emotional problems. 

Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) was developed by Marsha M. Linehan in the late 1980s, as a means to more effectively treat chronically suicidal individuals diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD). It is an evidence-based psychotherapy that emphasizes the psychosocial aspect of treatment. DBT is founded on the principals of cognitive behavioral therapy and blends concepts derived from Buddhist meditative practice such as awareness, mindfulness and attentiveness to current situations and emotional experiences. DBT has a multifaceted, rigidly structured therapeutic approach that is comprised of weekly one-on-one psychotherapy sessions, weekly DBT skills training group sessions, and as-needed phone coaching. Each therapeutic setting has its own distinct purpose. The DBT group skills training sessions focus on teaching and practicing the four modules of DBT, which are: core mindfulness (focusing skills), distress tolerance (crisis survival skills), emotion regulation (de-escalation skills), and interpersonal effectiveness (social/ relationship skills). The purpose of DBT is to provide clients with new skills to manage painful emotions and reduce conflicts in relationships.

Which Is Better?

Every individual is complex with nuanced needs and will respond to different forms of treatment for mental illness uniquely. With the wide variety of therapeutic modalities available, certain types have proven more effective for certain mental health ailments. CBT focuses on rationale and reasoning, DBT relies heavily upon mindfulness skills to assist in effectively regulating emotions. To distinguish which therapeutic modality is best will depend on a variety of contributing factors. Some individuals with anxiety may respond best to CBT while others may benefit more from DBT. Both types of therapeutic interventions can yield successful results. 

Treatment In Calabasas

Calabasas is a city in California. It is a well-known suburb of Los Angeles, located west of the San Fernando Valley and north of the Santa Monica Mountains. Over the past decade, the city of Calabasas has grown in its reputation for luxury as well as for privacy which makes it a hidden gem for residential living for society’s elite, and one of the most desirable destinations in Los Angeles County. It is also home to a plethora of highly qualified mental health clinicians providing an array of therapeutic services and treatment options. 

The information above is provided for the use of informational purposes only. The above content is not to be substituted for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment, as in no way is it intended as an attempt to practice medicine, give specific medical advice, including, without limitation, advice concerning the topic of mental health. As such, please do not use any material provided above to disregard professional advice or delay seeking treatment.