Overcoming Anxiety Might Be Easier Than You Think

By Jeanette Lorandini

In many cases, everyday stressors, anxiety disorders, and traumatic experiences can result in unregulated emotions and negative, intrusive thoughts. In turn, many people may fall into habitual cycles of impulsive behaviors or addictions in attempts to relieve anxiety symptoms. Professionally led mental and behavioral health therapies, not these unhelpful habits, are the key to true relief and overcoming anxiety. When considering therapy, you may ask, ‘is DBT good for anxiety?’ Yes, DBT for social anxiety and other types of anxiety can improve symptoms, especially when implemented by experts. In their New York offices or online, anxiety and trauma therapists in NYC and Long Island at Suffolk DBT can offer you new, effective, healthy ways of accepting and changing your reality, regulating your feelings and thoughts, and thriving.

A young woman sitting at a laptop with her hands on her face exhibiting stress as she searches for a trauma therapist NYC.

If you’ve ever felt wound up because of deadline pressures at work or school, you’re not the only one. The same goes for if you’re on edge because your child is having problems in school. Or if you’re restless because your relationship is getting rocky. Feeling anxious because of such circumstances is a normal part of life. After all, anxiety is the body’s natural response to stress and goes away when the stressor is over. 

But what if it doesn’t? What if the anxiety you experience lasts a long time? Excessive anxiety that persists even after your situation’s been resolved may indicate an anxiety disorder.

Is DBT good for anxiety?

There are several types of anxiety disorders. For this reason—and because individuals living with anxiety aren’t a monolith—several therapy options exist for alleviating anxiety symptoms. From cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), to eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) and somatic therapy, the right treatment option is available for you. 

When considering options, you may ask: is DBT good for social anxiety and other types of anxiety? In a word, yes. Skilled trauma therapists in NYC and Long Island at Suffolk DBT specialize in using DBT to treat borderline personality disorder, depression, suicidality, eating disorders, and anxiety. Our specialists implement this therapy in a way that makes it easier to regulate your emotions, manage challenges, and live a life of acceptance, change, and hope.

Where Does Anxiety Come From?

Anxious thoughts can easily trigger the limbic system, the brain’s fear center. These thoughts may relate to relationships, careers, and even gender role stress for men. For many women, anxious thoughts may stem from trying to fulfill the responsibilities and expectations of being a mother and caretaker. Anxious thoughts in teenagers may relate to efforts to fit in with peers, perform well in school, or just to keep up with NYC big city life. In general, many people may have anxious thoughts stemming from fears and concerns related to COVID-19 or how their lives and social tolerance have changed in the past few years. Anxiety is considered disordered when it interferes with an individual’s ability to function and control their responses to situations. 

Anxiety Can Stem From Trauma

Expert trauma therapists in NYC at Suffolk DBT can recognize when clients are experiencing trauma. When they can no longer cope with what happens around or within them. They’ve likely had an experience that damaged or threatened their life, body, or mind, such as:

  • Physical/sexual abuse in childhood or adulthood
  • Emotional neglect
  • Involvement in a road accident
  • Natural disasters
  • Acts of political violence, terrorism, or war
  • Loss of a loved one to sudden, accidental, violent death or suicide

It’s normal to feel many emotions and experience lingering forms of trauma. And normal too to face sneaky, uncomfortable reminders of the past from time to time, even as you heal. For some people, trauma symptoms may only last a short while before fading as they process their experiences. For others, trauma symptoms can last a lifetime. Painful thoughts, feelings, and symptoms that last and even worsen over time may indicate post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or complex PTSD (C-PTSD). In these cases, individuals may experience persistent anxiety and flashbacks. For people with C-PTSD, it can be hard to recognize emotions. Forming and maintaining healthy connections and relationships with others can be challenging. It can feel like one’s lost control over their moods and behaviors.

DBT: What is It?

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a specialized form of cognitive behavioral therapy. Initially developed by Dr. Marsha Linehan in New York to treat chronically suicidal individuals, DBT is commonly used to help people cope with unbalanced emotions and harmful behaviors. Trained trauma therapists in NYC and Long Island at Suffolk DBT implement DBT to treat adults, teens, and children. Through DBT, clients learn to identify and regulate their emotions.

Why is DBT Good for Anxiety and Trauma?A sneak peak at a session between a trauma therapist in NYC and her client. The image is cropped, so no faces are seen.

DBT is good for anxiety and trauma because of its focus on mindfulness, acceptance, change, and dialectical thinking. Dialectical refers to the notion that two seemingly contradictory ideas can both be true. Instead of seeing opposites as things that work against each other, DBT teaches us to hold them in equal tension, with the most notable pair of opposites being acceptance and change. Our anxiety and trauma therapists in NYC at Suffolk DBT give acceptance and change equal focus in therapy.

When DBT is used to treat anxiety and trauma, therapists help people:

  • Learn to be fully present by emphasizing mindfulness. Mindfulness skills empower clients to focus on the present instead of ruminating on the past. They allow clients to have more healthy control of their minds and bodies.
  • Accept, manage, and change emotions through regulation. Emotional regulation skills can help clients stop dysregulated, unwanted emotions but know how to accept, regulate, and change them when they start.
  • Cope with painful emotions and situations. When our trauma therapists in NYC and Long Island teach clients distress tolerance skills, they’re equipping them with tangible skills to use to reduce distress. They’ll no longer have to rely on ineffective behaviors like stress eating, drug, and alcohol consumption, or cutting and self-harm.
  • Learn to communicate respectfully. Disordered anxiety and PTSD can make it hard to interact with and trust others. Interpersonal effectiveness skills can empower you to form and maintain healthy connections and relationships. You’ll be able to set boundaries, manage conflicts, and express yourself and your needs in healthy ways, respectful of yourself and the other person.

DBT is an Evidence-Based Anxiety Treatment 

Mental health experts know DBT is good for anxiety because of its demonstrated effectiveness in treating individuals of various ages and health. DBT is an evidence-based treatment, meaning:

  • It’s been studied in multiple scientific and academic trials
  • The trials typically involve many participants
  • DBT’s effects have been carefully compared to the effects of other psychological treatments

Empirical support for DBT as an effective therapy form is crucial, considering all psychological treatments haven’t been adequately tested in scientific research. Mental health care providers know that some treatments may work better for some individuals and mental health challenges than others. But when they implement DBT for clients, they confidently anchor clients’ treatment in a verifiable, well-supported therapy form while demonstrating clinical expertise in the context of their characteristics, preferences, and culture. 

Is CBT or DBT Better for Anxiety?

Like DBT, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based therapeutic approach. Initially developed to treat depression, CBT helps individuals recognize how their emotions, thoughts, and behaviors impact their mental state and decision-making. Now, it’s widely used to treat various psychological and mood disorders

When CBT is used to treat anxiety, therapists help people:

  • Understand the connection between their emotions and thoughts. They help clients think about themselves and the world in ways more conducive to living functional, fulfilling lives.
  • Develop restructuring methods for triggering and stressful events. They equip clients to challenge catastrophic thinking and create fact-based logical reactions to situations.

DBT is good for anxiety because, while similar to CBT, it’s unique in its emphasis on acceptance. DBT tends to be a longer process, requiring clients to accept troubling thoughts, feelings, and behaviors instead of grappling with them. Skills are also incorporated into managing the physical sensations associated with anxiety, such as paced breathing or the TIP skill. The other amazing thing is recognizing Whether or not the anxiety is justified. Justified fear is when there is a threat to your life, health, or well-being; often, things that cause anxiety are not justified. The solution is a skill called opposite action in which you would approach the thing that you are afraid of over and over again and learn that you can do it! This results in decreased emotional arousal and improved functioning. Regarding which is better: expert trauma therapists in NYC at Suffolk DBT understand that DBT will be more beneficial for anxiety in some cases, while CBT may be more beneficial in others.

Learn to Overcome Anxiety and Thrive

Suffolk DBT anxiety and trauma therapists in NYC and Long Island understand that trying to ‘fix’ anxious thoughts with other thoughts creates an exhausting cycle of panic that can impair a person from head to toe. Through DBT, people are encouraged to accept themselves and life’s challenges with enough mindfulness, emotional awareness, and regulation to change unhelpful thoughts and behaviors. 

At Suffolk DBT, our therapists help clients become more productive and less reactive. Reach out today to get the help you need to stabilize and care for your mind and body. You’ll receive the compassion, motivation, support, and techniques you deserve to help overcome anxiety and trauma symptoms in healthy ways. You’ll learn how to have healthy relief from what-ifs your mind creates and be in the moment, thriving in your real life.

Suffolk DBT proudly provides quality dialectical behavior therapy, a form of cognitive behavioral therapy, at their offices in Manhattan and Long Island, New York and online. Their experienced NYC therapists specialize in serving teens, children, adults, and college students struggling with depression, borderline personality disorder, eating disorders, and self-harm. Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) skills and treatment can help you or your kids to manage emotions and work through life’s challenges.

Teen girl interested in DBT treatment looks out over an expansive city. The DBT skills she's learning in teen therapy help her regulate her overwhelming feelings.The Good and Bad of New York City Life for Teens
Image of a family carving their turkey on Thanksgiving and looking for ways to be mindful during this holiday season as a boost to their DBT therapy in Suffolk County NY.Using DBT Mindfulness to Make the Most of Thanksgiving