Feeling anxious and depressed at times is normal. The loss of a loved one, getting terminated from a job, breakups, divorces, or other trying circumstances can invoke feelings of sadness, fear, loneliness, or anxiety. While these feelings can be normal reactions to life stressors when they occur on a daily basis for a long period of time they can interfere with normal, everyday functioning.
Exposure and Response Prevention Therapy
Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) is one of the most researched and effective treatments for anxiety disorders. It is based on the premise that if you are afraid of something, you must face that fear in order to learn that you can handle it. Avoiding what you fear maintains or increases your anxiety and often generalizes to other situations which lead to new fears, anxieties, and avoidance.
Exposure and Response Prevention is based on Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT). The concept behind CBT is that there are three contributing factors: the way you think, the way you feel, and the way you behave. While many therapies will focus “only on the way you think and feel,” with Exposure and Response Prevention the behavior becomes the main focus when it comes to an anxiety disorder because behavioral change is the true and most meaningful measure of whether or not a person is still anxious. It is through learning how to face your fears and practicing in real-life situations that your anxiety decreases and can eventually extinguish altogether.