Anxiety disorders and depression are treatable. Many people experience meaningful symptom relief and improvement in their quality of life with professional care. However, treatment success varies. Some people respond to treatment after a few weeks or months while others may take longer. If people have more than one anxiety disorder or if they suffer from other co-existing conditions, treatment may take longer. An experienced provider will conduct a comprehensive assessment before discussing an individualized treatment plan.
- Types of Therapy
- Types of Mental Health Care Professionals
- Learn More About Cognitive-Behavior Therapy (CBT)
- Concerned About Cost?
- Getting Professional Help
- Clinical Trials
Although there are many forms of treatment, several approaches have proven to be effective in addressing anxiety disorders and depression. You can read more about the different approaches here:
- Learn More About Cognitive-Behavior Therapy (CBT)
- Residential Treatment
- Complementary and Alternative Treatment
- Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)
Concerned About Cost?
- Learn about low-cost treatment options.
- Check out Thero.org's Affordable Therapy Project
- A must-read: Practical advice for obtaining quality mental health care when money is tight
Getting Professional Help
Finding the right health care professional is important:
- How to choose a mental health care professional
- Find an ADAA member therapist or other mental health treatment provider near you
- SAMSHA Behavioral Health Treatment Locator
- Learn about telemental health
Types of Mental Health Care Professionals
Psychiatrists are medical doctors, as described above, who diagnose psychiatric conditions, manage medical issues, prescribe medications, and provide psychotherapy. The practice of using medications to treat psychiatric conditions is referred to as “psychopharmacotherapy.” Because they are also medical doctors, psychiatrists may order lab work or other tests to monitor progress. Psychiatrists also collaborate with other medical doctors, such as pediatricians, neurologists, endocrinologists, and family medicine doctors, in order to provide the best medical care.
Psychologists have also completed post-graduate training, but in a different setting than psychiatrists. They have completed a doctoral program that is non-medical. Psychologists often specialize in administering specialized diagnostic testing as well as therapy in a variety of settings. They do not prescribe medications, but their services are very important.
Therapists / Counselors have usually completed post-graduate training in a Master’s program, and there are a variety of licensures that can be obtained. The terms “therapist” and “counselor” are often used interchangeably. Therapists and counselors typically focus on providing psychotherapy, or counseling, to individuals, families, couples, or groups, in a variety of settings and specialties.
Social Workers usually have a Masters of Social Work (MSW) or can be a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW). In all of these forms the goal of the social worker is to empower the client to be able to see their own inner strengths and build upon them so that they can overcome the challenges they are facing in their lives. Social workers assess, treats and evaluates individual, interpersonal and societal problems through the use of social work knowledge, skills and strategies. Social workers often work in multi-disciplinary teams alongside health and education professionals. Professional social workers are the largest group of mental health services providers.
The most important thing to understand is that Psychiatrists, Psychologists, and Therapists all provide an integral service to those who seek their help. They are all considered mental health professionals. Oftentimes, an individual is best served by working with a combination of all, since medication and therapy may each be necessary. In most cases, an individual can start by seeking help from one type of professional and then be referred to another professional if indicated.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, "clinical trials are part of clinical research and at the heart of all medical advances. Clinical trials look at new ways to prevent, detect, or treat disease. The goal of clinical trials is to determine if a new test or treatment works and is safe. Clinical trials can also look at other aspects of care, such as improving the quality of life for people with chronic illnesses."
Healthy volunteers may participate to help researchers find better treatments for the future. Those who have an illness also participate to help others, as well as for the possibility of receiving the newest treatment and additional care and attention.
You may choose to join a research study to test the safety and effectiveness of new forms of therapy or medication.
- Find a clinical trial near you.
- Learn more about clinical trials, including the different types, the importance of participation, informed consent, and personal experiences.
- The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) offers clinical trials across the country.
- Get more information at Research Match.
- CenterWatch provides patients and their advocates information on clinical trials, specific drugs, and other health and educational resources.
Keep reading to learn more about finding a therapist.