Anxiety is the most common mental health disorder in the U.S. with individuals suffering from anxiety 6 times more likely to be hospitalized. Interestingly, anxiety symptoms are highly treatable but only 40% of people actively seek to address them.
Anxiety therapy includes a combination of psychotherapy, interpersonal therapy, and exposure therapy among other methods. Online anxiety therapy offers an affordable and convenient alternative to conventional therapy. Most online therapy platforms like BetterHelp employ licensed mental health professionals who are equipped with dealing various anxiety disorders.
This article explores the causes, symptoms, and types of anxiety disorders and evaluates how online therapy for anxiety offers a convenient alternative.
What Causes Anxiety?
Anxiety is caused by a mix of societal, economic, and personal reasons. It is a complex mental health issue that varies from person to person and depends on their background, socio-economic situation, and other circumstances. Several common causes of anxiety are:
- Childhood trauma: Trauma and abuse in childhood due to mental or sexual abuse, broken family, and economic hardships.
- Health problems: People suffering from medical issues such as heart problems, substance abuse, chronic illnesses, and diabetes.
- Social exclusion: Isolated individuals living a solitary life due to the death of their partner or parents, family fights, or financial problems.
- Other reasons: Include financial hardships, abusive relationships, societal pressure, and physical disabilities.
What are the Symptoms of Anxiety?
Anxiety symptoms include restlessness, overwhelming panic, and feelings of danger or doom. There are many common symptoms of anxiety that should be addressed if they occur constantly over a long period. Some of these are:
- Excessive worrying
- My heart beating faster than usual
- Panic attacks
- Physical pain such as nausea or stomach ache
- Sweating and shaking
- Inability to concentrate
- Feeling irritable or restless
What are Some Different Types of Anxiety Disorders?
There are several types of anxiety disorders including General Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD), phobias, and substance-induced anxiety disorders.
These disorders make it difficult for patients to function properly and range from mild to severe.
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD): GAD is marked by constant and excessive worrying over various problems without any significant cause.
- Panic Disorder: Panic disorder causes panic attacks that result in extreme physical sensations including trembling, body aches, dizziness, and hyperventilation without any reasonable cause.
- Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD): SAD is characterized by the extreme fright of social settings with a constant fear of rejection or humiliation.
- Selective Mutism: Mostly prevalent in children, selective mutism renders individuals speechless in specific situations.
- Phobias: Extreme fear of specific objects, things, or situations such as height, death, enclosed spaces, and spiders.
What is Online Therapy for Anxiety?
Online therapy for anxiety includes cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness therapy, and exposure therapy among other options. It has emerged as a viable medium of cost-effective and accessible therapy for anxiety. With online therapy for anxiety, patients can benefit from effective treatments from the comfort of their homes.
1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT is a type of psychotherapy that is used to treat various anxiety disorders. CBT digs into the underlying reasons for anxiety including situations, thoughts, and behaviors, and then changes the perception of the patient.
Common CBT interventions include coping situations, building confidence, and ignoring potential negative triggers. CBT can be effectively offered in an online setting with one-on-one video sessions with licensed therapists.
2. Exposure Therapy
Exposure therapy uses a confrontational strategy making patients face their fears. The objective of exposure therapy is to build resilience in patients by reducing fear of anxiety triggers and avoidance behavior. Online exposure therapy entails using digital tools like video sessions and live chats to administer the therapy in a familiar environment.
3. Interpersonal Therapy (IPT)
IPT uses a mixture of coping strategies and motivational exercises to help patients navigate personal events and challenges in a structured way. IPT focuses on establishing boundaries, evaluating relationships, and addressing communication challenges in people’s personal lives.
In online interpersonal therapy, therapists can effectively listen and motivate patients via video conferencing or calls to address anxiety.
4. Mindfulness Therapy
Mindfulness therapy aims to reduce anxiety by helping patients focus deeply on their present thoughts, feelings, and emotions. The objective of mindfulness therapy is to reduce anxiety by countering negative feelings and thoughts that are causing mental suffering.
In an online setting, mindfulness therapy can be administered in several effective ways including guided meditation, breathing exercises, yoga, and physical exercises.
5. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
ACT employs a combination of mindfulness and psychotherapy to help patients accept their circumstances without worrying or guilt. ACT aims to assist patients in staying focused on the present and diffusing negative feelings by acknowledging and observing anxiety positively.
Online ACT can assist patients in overcoming various anxiety disorders through interactive resources such as journaling and online activity plans.
Is Online Therapy for Anxiety Effective?
Many extensive research ventures conducted over the years conclude that online therapy is an effective medium of accessible therapy. One study evaluated the effectiveness of internet-based therapies for Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) concluding that results supported the effectiveness of online therapy. Moreover, another study also found that online Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is useful in addressing mental illnesses.
How Can I Benefit from Online Therapy for Anxiety?
Online therapy for anxiety is beneficial because it offers a comfortable environment, affordable pricing, extended privacy, and more regular support. These benefits make online therapy for anxiety a viable option for many struggling individuals suffering from anxiety.
1. Enhanced Privacy and Anonymity
Many individuals find it difficult to express themselves in an unfamiliar environment and are more comfortable receiving therapy in their homes. Online therapy also offers an additional layer of anonymity where people can opt for anonymity and use voice calling or texting to communicate with the therapist.
2. More Flexibility and Customized Solution
Online therapy offers flexibility for individuals to work around their schedules and opt for therapy in less anxiety-provoking times. Many people also suffer from social anxiety disorder and selective mutism that triggers anxiety in social interactions making it difficult for them to travel with ease.
3. Interactive Tools and 24/7 Support
Many online platforms offer various interactive tools for anxiety therapy including video conferencing, mood tracking, and journaling. When compared to conventional therapy, online therapy offers constant support allowing patients to communicate with therapists around the clock.
Best Online Therapy Platforms for Anxiety
Several online platforms assist in bridging the gap between licensed mental health professionals and ever-increasing patients with mental health challenges. These platforms connect patients with reliable therapists and psychiatrists at affordable prices. Online therapy platforms offer several exciting features including video sessions, anonymous interactions, and interactive resources.
BetterHelp hosts more than 30,000+ licensed mental health professionals offering care for various problems including anxiety and depression. The platform charges $65-$90 per week allowing for one live session with a therapist. It has several exciting online features including video conferencing, calling, and live chat, and features a user-friendly application.
Calmerry offers a flexible and convenient solution for those looking for an affordable mental health solution for anxiety. The platform costs between $50 to $90 per session (usually weekly) and offers variable pricing plans appealing to different demographics. It also offers helpful online resources including mood tracking and online journals.
Brightside offers both online psychiatric help and therapy with vetted mental health professionals for anxiety. The platform charges a monthly fee ranging from $95 per month to $349 per month depending on your specific requirements. It is one of the few online platforms that accepts insurance and offers
medication management using artificial intelligence.
TalkSpace is an integrated online therapy platform catering to the therapy and psychiatry needs of individuals, couples, veterans, and teens. The platform has an extensive directory of mental health professionals experienced in anxiety disorders and charges between $260 to $436 per month depending on patient needs. It also accepts insurance and caters to prescribed medication for patients with psychiatric needs.