Can Anxiety Be Cured?

By Jill Kapil, Psy.D.
Medically reviewed checkmarkMedically reviewed
July 7, 2022

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health conditions, affecting more than 40 million adults in the US of age 18 and older. 

Fortunately, there are many treatment options available that can help lessen anxiety symptoms and improve quality of life.

While there is no one-size-fits-all treatment for anxiety, various approaches may be helpful for different people. 

In this article, we’ll discuss various treatment options, medications, and natural remedies for anxiety. We’ll also discuss when it is important to seek professional help.

What is Anxiety? 

Anxiety is an emotion that everyone experiences at different times. It’s the body’s way of preparing to respond to or face a challenging situation.

It may make you feel like your heart is racing, make it hard to breathe, or give you butterflies in your stomach.

These physical symptoms are often accompanied by anxious thoughts or worry.

For some people, anxiety can be short-lived and related to a temporary experience, such as when giving a presentation or going on a first date.

But for others, anxiety can be more severe and long-lasting, interfering with daily activities such as work, school, and relationships.

This more severe form of anxiety may be diagnosed as an anxiety disorder. There are many different types of anxiety disorders, each with its own symptoms.

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Can Anxiety Be Cured?

A person’s tendency to have anxiety can be linked to several factors like genetic makeup, life experiences, environment, and brain chemistry.

Because of this, some people may be more prone to anxiety than others. 

That said, anxiety disorders are treatable.

With the appropriate treatment approach, most people with anxiety can manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life.

However, only 36.9% of those experiencing symptoms of anxiety receive treatment.

This may be due to the fact that anxiety disorders are often seen as a private matter, people don’t know when to seek appropriate help or because they don’t know where to find the help.

There are many effective treatment options available for anxiety disorders.

The key is working with a mental health professional to find the best approach for you.

Treatment Options

There are many different types of treatments available for anxiety disorders.

The most effective approach often depends on the type of anxiety disorder and the severity of symptoms.

Medications 

SSRIs

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are a type of antidepressant medication commonly used to treat anxiety disorders.

SSRIs help increase the levels of serotonin in the brain.

Serotonin is a chemical messenger (neurotransmitters) that carries signals between brain nerve cells (neurons).

SSRIs approved by Food and Drug Administration (FDA) include:

  • Citalopram (Celexa)
  • Escitalopram (Lexapro)
  • Fluoxetine (Prozac)
  • Paroxetine (Paxil, Pexeva)
  • Sertraline (Zoloft)

SNRIs

Serotonin and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs) are used to treat anxiety disorders.

SNRIs are also sometimes used to treat long-term (chronic) pain and nerve pain in addition to depression.

SNRIs approved by Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat depression include:

  • Desvenlafaxine (Pristiq)
  • Duloxetine (Cymbalta)
  • Levomilnacipran (Fetzima)
  • Venlafaxine (Effexor XR)

Benzodiazepines

Benzodiazepines are a class of psychotropic medication typically used to treat anxiety.

They can, however, also be used for other conditions such as alcohol withdrawal, muscle spasms, and seizures.

Benzodiazepines approved by Food and Drug Administration (FDA) include:

  • Xanax (alprazolam)
  • Librax (chlordiazepoxide HCl/clidinium bromide)
  • Librium (chlordiazepoxide HCI)
  • Onfi (clobazam)
  • Klonopin (clonazepam)
  • Gen-Xene, Tranxene (clorazepate)
  • Diastat, Diastat Acudial, Valium, Valtoco (diazepam)
  • Ativan (lorazepam)
  • Doral (quazepam)
  • Restoril (temazepam)

Other Prescription Medications

There are other types of prescription medications that may be used to treat anxiety disorders.

These include:

Tricyclic antidepressants

Tricyclic antidepressants are an older class of antidepressant medications.

They are not as commonly used as SSRIs or SNRIs, but they may be helpful for some people.

Examples of tricyclic antidepressants include:

  • Anafranil (Clomipramine)
  • Asendin (Amoxapine)
  • Pamelor (Nortriptyline)
  • Sinequan (Doxepin)
  • Surmontil (Trimipramine)
  • Tofranil (Imipramine) 

Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)

MAOIs are a type of antidepressant medication that is not as commonly used as other types of antidepressants.

They may be helpful for some people, but they can have serious side effects.

Examples of MAOIs include:

  • Eldepryl (selegiline)
  • Marplan (isocarboxazid)
  • Nardil (phenelzine)
  • Azilect (rasagiline)
  • Emsam (selegiline transdermal)
  • Zelapar (selegiline orally disintegrating tablets) 

Beta-blockers

Beta-blockers are a type of medication that is most often used to treat heart conditions.

They can also be used to treat anxiety disorders.

Examples of beta-blockers include:

Buspirone

Buspirone is a type of medication that the FDA approves to treat anxiety disorders. It is in a class of medications called azapirones. 

Therapy 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

If you experience symptoms of anxiety, you may benefit from psychotherapy (a type of counseling).

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapy that can be effective for treating anxiety disorders.

Through  CBT, you work with a therapist to identify negative thoughts and behaviors and replace them with healthier beliefs. CBT can take place in individual therapy sessions or in group therapy.

Exposure Therapy

Exposure therapy is another type of therapy that involves gradually exposing yourself to the things that trigger anxiety.

The goal of exposure therapy is to help you confront your fears and learn to control symptoms of anxiety.

Exposure therapy uses systematic desensitization, which involves the following steps.

  • Relax: The therapist teaches you relaxation techniques like progressive muscle relaxation, guided imagery, and deep breathing to help manage symptoms of anxiety. 
  • List: The therapist helps create a list of triggers and ranks them in the order of intensity.
  • Expose: The therapist gradually exposes anxiety-provoking objects or situations and encourages the use of relaxation techniques to manage the body’s fight-or-flight response/symptoms of anxiety. 

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) is a well-known treatment that is effective for treating anxiety disorders.

DBT encourages the acceptance of anxiety and helps work on change of thoughts and behaviors through four main skills – mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness, distress tolerance, and emotional regulation.

Psychodynamic Therapy

The goal of psychoanalytic therapy is to face and uncover past conflicts and work through these issues.

Studies have shown remission rates of 40% for both CBT and psychoanalysis.  

Prevention 

There are several things you can do to prevent symptoms of anxiety from impacting your daily functioning.

Here are some tips:

Lifestyle Changes 

Some lifestyle changes that can help prevent symptoms of anxiety include:

  • Exercise: Exercise has been shown to be an effective treatment for anxiety disorders. A meta-analysis found that exercise is an effective treatment for anxiety, with a large effect size. 
  • Diet: Eating a healthy diet is important for both physical and mental health. Some foods that may help reduce anxiety include omega-3 fatty acids, probiotics, and magnesium-rich foods.
  • Stress management: Managing stress can help reduce your risk of developing an anxiety disorder. Stress management techniques include relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation, and deep breathing.
  • Social Support: Social support can help reduce anxiety and improve mental health. Some ways to get social support include joining a support group, attending social events, and spending time with family and friends.
  • Self-Care: Taking care of yourself is important for maintaining your mental health. Some self-care activities that can help reduce anxiety include getting enough sleep, practicing yoga or meditation, and taking breaks from work or school.

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When to See a Healthcare Provider

If you are experiencing anxiety symptoms, it is important to see a healthcare provider.

Symptoms of anxiety can be different for everyone, and only a healthcare provider can diagnose an anxiety disorder.

If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms that impact your daily functioning, please see a healthcare provider:

  • Excessive worry or fear
  • Avoidance of activities or situations due to fear or worry
  • Sleep problems
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness or feeling on edge
  • Muscle tension
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Fatigue
  • Physical symptoms such as sweating, rapid heartbeat, or trembling 

If you are seeking treatment for anxiety, there are many options available.

Treatment for anxiety can include medication, therapy, or a combination of both.

It’s important to work with a healthcare provider to find the treatment that best fits your needs.

How K Health Can Help

Did you know you can get affordable primary care with the K Health app?

Download K to check your symptoms, explore conditions and treatments, and text with a healthcare provider in minutes if needed. K Health’s AI-powered app is HIPAA compliant and based on 20 years of clinical data.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can anxiety disorder be completely cured?
There is no cure for anxiety disorders, but they are treatable. Treatment for anxiety disorders can include medication, therapy, or a combination of both. It's important to work with a healthcare provider to find the treatment that best suits your concerns.
Is there a permanent cure for an anxiety or panic attack?
No, while there is no permanent cure for anxiety, feeling anxious is ideally a temporary state of mind that resolves when a stressor or trigger has passed. If anxiety is severe or persistent, it may be a sign of an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders are treatable, and there are many options available.
Can anxiety be cured naturally?
Yes, anxiety can be highly treatable with therapy, relaxation techniques, and other self-care practices. Some people may also find that supplements such as omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, or probiotics help reduce anxiety. A person may need to try several combinations of therapies and remedies before finding one that works.
K Health articles are all written and reviewed by MDs, PhDs, NPs, or PharmDs and are for informational purposes only. This information does not constitute and should not be relied on for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.

K Health has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references.

Jill Kapil, Psy.D.

Dr. Jill Sorathia Kapil is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist in California. She completed her undergraduate degree in Psychology with a minor in Education from the University of California, Irvine; and received her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from CSPP, San Diego (California School of Professional Psychology). Dr. Kapil completed her predoctoral and postdoctoral training at various College/University Health Centers across California, and has been licensed as a Psychologist since 2016.