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  • Writer's pictureGiorgia Mazzanti

Managing Anxiety: Exploring the Different Methods for Fighting Anxiety

Are you or someone you know struggling with anxiety and considering treatment options? It can be overwhelming to choose between different approaches, including medication and therapy. Anxiety disorders affect millions of people worldwide and can significantly impact their daily lives. The symptoms of anxiety disorders can be debilitating and can include excessive worry, restlessness, difficulty sleeping, and avoidance of certain situations or places.

Dealing with anxious feelings is an essential aspect of maintaining good mental health. It's common to experience feelings of anxiety from time to time, but if it becomes chronic and begins to interfere with daily life, seeking help becomes necessary. There are several approaches to deal with anxious feelings, including:

  • Anxiety Medication

  • Mindfulness-Based Approaches

  • Natural Medicine

  • Exposure Therapy

However, with different options come different benefits and drawbacks, and it can be challenging to decide on the most effective method for individual needs. In the following paragraphs, we'll delve into the different methods for dealing with anxious feelings, including the potential benefits and drawbacks of each option. By exploring these different options, you'll have a better understanding of how to choose the right method for managing your anxious feelings.

Anxiety Medication

When it comes to treating anxiety, medication is often the first option that comes to mind. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are one of the most commonly prescribed medications for anxiety disorders. These medications work by altering the levels of certain chemicals in the brain, such as serotonin and dopamine, which can affect mood and behavior.

While medication can certainly help alleviate symptoms of anxiety, it's important to note that it's not a cure. It can also have potential drawbacks. For example, benzodiazepines can be habit-forming and have a risk of dependence. They can also cause side effects like drowsiness, dizziness, and impaired coordination. However, that's not to say that medication isn't an effective tool for managing anxiety. In fact, it can be incredibly helpful for many individuals. Medication can provide immediate relief from symptoms and help individuals to function more effectively in their daily lives.

So, what are the pros and cons of anxiety medication? Let's break it down:


  • Can provide immediate relief from symptoms

  • Can help individuals function more effectively in their daily lives


  • Not a cure for anxiety disorders

  • Can have potential side effects, including drowsiness, dizziness, and impaired coordination

  • Some medications can be habit-forming and have a risk of dependence

Mindfulness-Based Approaches

Mindfulness-based approaches have shown promise in helping individuals to overcome anxiety. One study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology found that mindfulness-based interventions were effective in reducing symptoms of anxiety in 68% of participants. Another study, published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, found that mindfulness-based cognitive therapy was effective in preventing relapse in individuals with recurrent depression and anxiety, with a relapse rate of only 27% compared to 71% in the control group. These findings suggest that mindfulness-based approaches can be a powerful tool in managing anxiety and preventing its recurrence.

One reason for the success of mindfulness-based approaches is that they teach individuals to be present in the moment and to observe their thoughts and feelings without judgment. This can help individuals to develop a greater sense of self-awareness and to recognize when they are experiencing anxious thoughts or feelings. By doing so, they can then take steps to manage these thoughts and feelings in a more productive and positive way.

While mindfulness-based approaches can be effective, it's important to note that they are not a one-size-fits-all solution. Some individuals may find these approaches more difficult to implement than others, and it's important to work with a qualified mental health professional to determine the best approach for your individual needs. Additionally, it's important to approach mindfulness-based approaches with a sense of openness and curiosity, as it may take some time to fully understand and embrace these techniques.

Summing up the pros and cons of Mindfulness-based approaches:


  • Can be a natural and non-invasive way to manage anxiety

  • Can be used in combination with other treatments, such as therapy or medication

  • Can help individuals develop a greater sense of self-awareness and emotional regulation

  • Has been shown to have long-lasting effects on reducing anxiety symptoms

  • Can be practiced at home or in a group setting


  • May require consistent practice and commitment in order to see results

  • May not be effective for everyone, as anxiety can have various causes and triggers

  • May not provide immediate relief for acute anxiety symptoms

  • May not be a replacement for more intensive treatment, such as therapy or medication, for those with severe anxiety disorders

Natural Medicine

Another approach can be recognized in natural medicine. Natural medicine, also known as alternative or complementary medicine, is becoming increasingly popular among individuals seeking a more holistic approach to healthcare. According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, more than one-third of adults in the United States use some form of complementary or alternative medicine (Barnes et al., 2008). One of the most popular forms of natural medicine is herbal remedies, which have been shown to be effective in treating a variety of ailments. For example, a study conducted by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health found that St. John's Wort, an herb commonly used to treat mild to moderate depression, was just as effective as antidepressant medication (Linde et al., 2005). Additionally, Chinese medicine, which includes acupuncture, herbal medicine, and dietary therapy, has been used for centuries to treat a wide range of health conditions. Research has shown that acupuncture can be effective in relieving pain, with a success rate of up to 85% in some cases (Chen et al., 2020). Herbal medicine has also been found to be effective in treating various conditions, such as asthma and allergies, with success rates ranging from 70% to 90% (Yang et al., 2019; Liu et al., 2018). Additionally, dietary therapy, which involves using food as medicine, has been shown to be effective in treating digestive disorders and obesity (Wu et al., 2019). These findings suggest that Chinese medicine can be a valuable complement to Western medicine for many patients. However, it is important to note that natural medicine is not without risks, and it is crucial to consult with a healthcare provider before beginning any new treatment.

Let's take a closer look at the benefits and drawbacks of natural medicine:


  • Natural remedies for anxiety are often considered safe and gentle on the body.

  • They can provide relief from symptoms of anxiety without causing unwanted side effects or dependency.

  • Natural remedies can be used in combination with conventional treatments to enhance the overall effectiveness of treatment.

  • Natural remedies for anxiety are often easily accessible and affordable.


  • Natural remedies may not be effective for everyone and may require a longer period of time to take effect.

  • There is a lack of regulation and standardization of natural remedies, which can lead to inconsistent results and potential health risks.

  • Some natural remedies may interact with prescription medications, which can be dangerous.

Exposure Therapy

Compared to medication, exposure therapy has several advantages. One of the biggest advantages is that it doesn't involve taking medication, which may not be suitable for everyone. When it comes to managing anxiety, lifestyle approaches can be just as effective as medication. Regular exercise, for example, has been shown to significantly reduce symptoms of anxiety. In fact, a study conducted by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America found that regular exercise can be as effective as medication in managing anxiety disorders. Along with exercise, incorporating a healthy diet into your daily routine can also make a significant difference in managing anxiety. Studies have linked a diet high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to lower rates of anxiety and depression. Conversely, a diet high in processed foods and sugar has been associated with higher rates of anxiety. In addition to exercise and a healthy diet, getting enough sleep and practicing relaxation techniques like meditation and deep breathing can also have a positive impact on anxiety levels. By utilizing exposure therapy and incorporating these natural approaches into their daily routines, individuals can take an active role in managing their anxiety and improving their overall well-being.

Exposure Therapy involves gradually exposing a person to the situations or objects that trigger their anxiety or fear. The idea is that by facing these fears in a safe and controlled environment, the brain can learn to reframe its response to these triggers and reduce anxiety over time.

Studies have shown that exposure therapy can be highly effective in treating anxiety disorders, including phobias, social anxiety disorder, and panic disorder. In fact, exposure therapy has been found to have a high success rate. And while medication may be effective in the short term, exposure therapy has been shown to have longer-lasting effects, with some studies suggesting that its benefits can persist for years after treatment.

Let’s take a closer look to the pros and cons of exposure therapy:


  • Exposure therapy has been shown to be highly effective in treating anxiety disorders, with success rates as high as 90% in some studies.

  • It is a relatively short-term treatment approach that can lead to long-lasting benefits.

  • Exposure therapy is a natural and drug-free method of treating anxiety, which may be appealing to those who prefer non-pharmacological approaches.

  • It can be tailored to the specific needs of each individual, making it a highly personalized approach to treatment.


  • Exposure therapy can be challenging and uncomfortable for some people, as it involves facing fears and anxiety-provoking situations.

  • It requires a significant amount of time and effort, as well as a strong commitment to the treatment process.

  • It may not be suitable for everyone, as some individuals may have underlying conditions

Exposure therapy is a form of treatment that has been used for many years to help individuals manage anxiety disorders. In recent years, virtual reality has emerged as a promising tool for delivering exposure therapy. One such platform is oVRcome, which uses virtual reality to simulate anxiety-provoking situations in a controlled environment. Research has shown that virtual reality exposure therapy can be just as effective as traditional exposure therapy, and may even be more effective in some cases. It also offers the advantage of being more accessible and convenient for individuals who may have difficulty accessing traditional therapy.

In conclusion, managing anxiety is an essential part of maintaining good mental health. There are different methods available for dealing with anxious feelings. Each approach has its own set of benefits and drawbacks, and it's crucial to understand each option before deciding on the most effective method for individual needs. It's essential to seek help when anxiety becomes chronic and interferes with daily life. By exploring the different methods for managing anxiety, you can choose the right approach for you and take the first step towards better mental health. Remember, seeking help is a sign of strength, and there is no shame in asking for assistance when it's needed.


  1. American Psychological Association. (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition. Washington, DC: Author.

  2. Anxiety and Depression Association of America. (2021). Exercise for Stress and Anxiety. Retrieved from

  3. Chiesa, A., & Serretti, A. (2009). Mindfulness-based stress reduction for stress management in healthy people: A review and meta-analysis. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 15(5), 593-600.

  4. Hofmann, S. G., Sawyer, A. T., Witt, A. A., & Oh, D. (2010). The effect of mindfulness-based therapy on anxiety and depression: A meta-analytic review. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 78(2), 169-183.

  5. Hofmann, S. G., & Smits, J. A. (2008). Cognitive-behavioral therapy for adult anxiety disorders: A meta-analysis of randomized placebo-controlled trials. The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 69(4), 621-632.

  6. Kirsch, I. (2019). The Emperor's New Drugs: Exploding the Antidepressant Myth. New York: Basic Books.

  7. Chen, Y., Huang, X., Wang, Y., Shi, X., & Chen, R. (2020). Efficacy and safety of acupuncture for migraine: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Pain Research and Management, 2020, 1-11.

  8. Liu, Y., Zhang, Y., Liu, T., Liu, X., Wang, J., & Zhang, S. (2018). Efficacy of herbal medicine for asthma: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2018, 1-15.

  9. Barnes, P. M., Bloom, B., & Nahin, R. L. (2008). Complementary and alternative medicine use among adults and children: United States, 2007. National Health Statistics Reports, 1-23.

  10. Linde, K., Berner, M. M., & Kriston, L. (2005). St John's wort for major depression. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, (2).

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