Cognitive behavioural interventions for Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety is a common mental health disorder affecting millions of people worldwide. Anxiety is a subjective experience of a sense of worry. It occurs when a person thinks that they are at risk of some kind of threat. Anxiety has been identified as having four distinct components: physical reactions such as sweaty palms, racing heart, muscle tension; mood symptoms including nervousness, panic, irritability; thoughts such as worries and catastrophic thoughts, underestimation of help available; behavioural aspects, such as avoiding situations where anxiety may occur, leaving a situation when anxiety begins to occur and so on.

Many clinical trials have supported CBT as being efficient for the treatment of various different types of anxiety disorders such as panic disorder, specific phobia, social phobia, social phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and other related conditions. It appears that anxiety disorders have the highest prevalence out of all of the psychiatric conditions. Literature also suggests that anxiety may be correlated with suicide. Research suggests that anxiety can be detrimental for both your physical and social functioning. The table below illustrates the anxiety disorders CBT is able to treat.

    Evidence-Based Practice of CBT for Anxiety Disorders

 Anxiety Disorders Classification

Evidence-Based Practice With CBT Approach

Specific phobia

Situational exposure, cognitive restructuring


relaxation, cognitive restructuring

Social Anxiety/ Social phobia

Situational exposure, cognitive restructuring
Social skills training and relaxation.

General Anxiety Disorder

Relaxation, cognitive restructuring, worry exposure, problem solving skills

Obsessive compulsive disorder

Exposure therapy, imagination therapy, response prevention  stress inoculation, anxiety management

Panic disorder

Situational exposure, breathing techniques stress management techniques

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