Most Effective Help For Anxiety

Written by Jim Folk
Last updated May 17, 2021

help for anxiety

There are many forms of help for anxiety, anxiety attacks (panic attacks are the same), and anxiety disorders.

Some help for anxiety options include:

  • self-help information
  • coaching/counseling/therapy
  • medication
  • herbal and supplemental remedies
  • light to moderate exercise
  • eating a healthy diet
  • avoiding stimulants
  • avoiding recreational drugs

All of the above can provide help for anxiety. But this doesn't mean the real cause of anxiety is sufficiently addressed.

What is the most effective help for anxiety?

Anxiety occurs when we behave in an apprehensive manner, such as worry. Behaving in an apprehensive manner causes the body to trigger a stress response. The stress response secretes stress hormones into the bloodstream where they travel to targeted spots in the body to bring about specific physiological, psychological, and emotional changes that help the body when in real danger. Because of these changes in the benefits they bring the body, the stress response is often referred to as the fight or flight response, the emergency response, or the survival response.

So, anxiety is not caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain, a biological problem with the brain, or a genetic predisposition. Anxiety is caused by a certain style of behavior.

For more information about the chemical imbalance theory, biological problem with the brain theory, and genetic predisposition theory, see our Anxiety Myths section.

Because behaving in an apprehensive manner also produces a biological consequence - the stress response and how it affects the body - behaving in an overly apprehensive manner can cause the body to become overly stressed (which we call stress-response hyperstimulation). An overly stressed body can exhibit sensations and symptoms of stress, which are commonly referred to as anxiety symptoms. We call them anxiety symptoms because behaving in an apprehensive manner is the main source of the stress that causes stress-response hyperstimulation and its sensations and symptoms.

So, yes, behaving in an overly apprehensive manner can make us feel awful. But that awfulness is caused by the stress caused by being overly anxious.

In this regard, then, the most effective help for anxiety disorder is by helping the body overcome its stress-response hyperstimulated state and addressing the unhealthy behaviors at the root of problematic anxiety, which cause the overly stressed body and its sensations and symptoms.

The most effective way of doing this is with the combination of good self-help information and coaching/counseling/therapy by experienced anxiety disorder coaches/counselors/therapists.[1] Preferably by coaches/counselors/therapists who have personally experienced and have successfully overcome anxiety disorder in their own lives. Their personal experience with anxiety and successfully overcoming it can be a great benefit in the recovery process.

Our experience has shown that while good self-help information is important and helpful, it seldom produces complete results. Working with an experienced anxiety disorder coach/counselor/therapist is the most effective help for anxiety because it deals with the intricacies of a problematic anxiety, and to a level most self-help approaches don't address.[2]

So, again, the most effective help for anxiety is with the combination of good self-help information and personal coaching/counseling/therapy by experienced coaches/counselors/therapists. This combination is almost always required for meaningful success.[3]

The combination of good self-help information and working with an experienced anxiety disorder therapist, coach, or counselor is the most effective way to address anxiety and its many symptoms. Until the core causes of anxiety are addressed – which we call the underlying factors of anxiety – a struggle with anxiety unwellness can return again and again. Dealing with the underlying factors of anxiety is the best way to address problematic anxiety.

Additional Resources

Return to our Anxiety Frequently Asked Questions page. Information, support, and therapy for anxiety disorder and its symptoms, including What Is The Most Effective Help For Anxiety Disorder?


[1]”CBT can be recommended as a gold standard in the psychotherapeutic treatment of patients with anxiety disorders." - Otte, Christian. "Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in Anxiety Disorders: Current State of the Evidence." Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience. Les Laboratoires Servier, Dec. 2011. Web. 14 Sept. 2016.

[2]Tolin, D.F., Is cognitive-behavioral therapy more effective than other therapies? meta-analytic review, Clinical Psychology Review (2010)

[3]DISCLAIMER: Because each body is somewhat chemically unique, and because each person will have a unique mix of symptoms and underlying factors, recovery results may vary. Variances can occur for many reasons, including due to the severity of the condition, the ability of the person to apply the recovery concepts, and the commitment to making behavioral change.