Footprints to Recovery, Mental Health Treatment Program in NJ

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Footprints to Recovery Mental Health New Jersey

Anxiety Disorders

Living with an anxiety disorder can be challenging. Our mental health facility in New Jersey is well-staffed and equipped to treat many mental health disorders including anxiety.

anxiety disorders

Everybody gets nervous. It’s one of our body’s most basic stress and fear responses. People experience nerves and anxiety in countless situations in life. Things like first dates, public speaking, or deadlines at work or school can all cause anxiety. Unfortunately, high levels of anxiety can impact their ability to function normally in life.

When someone experiences regular, debilitating episodes of anxiety, it could be due to an anxiety disorder. There are many different types of anxiety disorders, but they all feature similar symptoms and treatment methods.

If you’re experiencing anxiety that’s getting in the way of living your life how you want, it may be time to seek professional treatment from the team of mental health specialists at Footprints to Recovery. 

Footprints to Recovery’s New Jersey mental health treatment facility is a safe and comfortable place where you can overcome your issues with anxiety. Our comprehensive approach to mental health care incorporates both evidence-based and holistic practices. Each of our mental health services will prepare you for life’s challenges through mental health education and therapeutic interventions as you transition through outpatient treatment for anxiety disorders.


The healing process can pose many challenges - all of which can be difficult to cope with on your own.

Our team of licensed mental health professionals can help you manage your symptoms and create a new, more fulfilling life.


We accept most major insurance provider plans.

If you have coverage of any kind, we will work with you to determine your benefits for mental health treatment. Any information you share with us is kept strictly confidential.

What Is Anxiety?

Anxiety is a natural and normal response to stress or a perceived threat. It is a feeling of unease, fear, or apprehension that can vary in intensity and duration. While occasional anxiety is a common human experience, an anxiety disorder causes excessive and persistent worry or fear that interferes with daily life. 

There are different types of anxiety disorders, and each one has unique symptoms that need to be addressed in order for an individual to manage their anxiety effectively. Typically, those struggling with anxiety are aware that their inability to cope with fear and worry is in excess of what is typically considered normal. Anxiety disorders can be debilitating, but with professional help and self-care strategies, it is possible to manage symptoms and live a productive life.

Who Is at Risk for Anxiety Disorders?

Anxiety disorders can affect anyone. Several factors can contribute to an increased risk of developing an anxiety disorder, they include:

Family History

A familial background of anxiety disorders or other mental health conditions can heighten the likelihood of developing an anxiety disorder. This underscores the significance of genetics and common environmental factors in its development.

Personal History of Mental Health Conditions

Individuals with a history of mental health conditions, such as depression, may face increased risk of developing an anxiety disorder. It is not uncommon for multiple mental health conditions to coexist.

Childhood Trauma

The experiences we undergo in childhood can have a profound impact on our lives, and traumatic events during this time may heighten the likelihood of developing anxiety disorders later on. Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) have been associated with a range of mental health conditions, including anxiety.

Traumatic childhood experiences encompass various adversities, such as abuse, neglect, exposure to violence, natural disasters, accidents, and the loss of a family member.


Anxiety disorders are more prevalent among women as compared to men, attributed to a confluence of biological, hormonal, and societal factors.

Chronic Medical Condition

Certain chronic medical conditions, like cardiovascular disease, respiratory disorders, and chronic pain, can heighten the likelihood of experiencing anxiety disorders. The physical manifestations and constraints accompanying these conditions can contribute to the development of anxiety.

Substance Abuse

The misuse of substances and addiction can heighten the likelihood of developing anxiety disorders. Individuals may turn to substance use as a means of self-medicating anxiety symptoms, but in the long term, it can further intensify anxiety.

Life Stressors

Experiencing high levels of chronic stress, undergoing major life transitions, or encountering significant traumatic events can act as triggers or intensify symptoms of anxiety.

Common Signs and Symptoms of Anxiety

Anxiety disorders are unique mental health issues, but the signs and symptoms can be very similar. Anxiety can manifest in various ways, including physical, cognitive, and behavioral symptoms. Clinicians use the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) to diagnose specific anxiety disorders.

When someone is feeling anxiety, physical symptoms may include:

Behavioral symptoms of anxiety include:

Cognitive symptoms of anxiety include:

Oftentimes, the symptoms of anxiety disorder can lead to constant worry, self-isolation, people-pleasing behaviors, panic attacks, and self-medicating with drugs or alcohol. For this reason, it is important to get help if you feel that your anxiety is disrupting your life, relationships, or activities. Mental health professionals can provide talk therapy or medications that can help manage anxiety. Taking proactive steps to reduce stress, like exercising, eating well, and getting enough sleep each night may also help ease symptoms of anxiety.

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Types of Anxiety Disorders

There are many different types of anxiety disorders, but all involve persistent and intense feelings of fear or worry in response to certain objects or situations. Not only does anxiety impact the mind, but many people who struggle with anxiety experience physical and behavioral symptoms as well.

It is important to note that everyone experiences anxiety differently and the intensity of the feeling will vary from person to person. Learning about the different types of anxiety disorders can help you understand your own experiences and seek help tailored to meet your treatment needs.

Anxiety Disorder Types

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is a common type of anxiety disorder that causes excessive worry in what are normal situations and aspects of life. This constant worry can cause headaches, problems sleeping, muscle tension, and any of the other symptoms of anxiety listed above. Those with GAD tend to become consumed with worry over things that are disproportionate to their fear. This makes living day-to-day life with GAD very difficult.

Panic Disorder

Panic disorder is a type of anxiety disorder that causes recurring and unexpected panic attacks. Panic attacks are sudden episodes of intense fear or discomfort that reach a peak within minutes. These attacks are accompanied by physical and cognitive symptoms that can be extremely distressing.

The signs someone is having a panic attack include:

The physical symptoms of a panic attack such as chest pain and difficulty breathing cause some people to think they’re experiencing a heart attack or similar medical emergency until the attack subsides. Panic disorder often involves a fear of experiencing future panic attacks and can lead to significant changes in behavior as individuals try to avoid situations or places they associate with panic attacks.

Social Anxiety Disorder (sad)

Fear of social situations is a kind of anxiety disorder known as social anxiety disorder (SAD), or social phobia. Those with social anxiety experience obvious distress and nervousness when they participate in social interactions. Even thinking about a future social situation can cause anxiety symptoms to manifest.

Individuals with social anxiety disorder are excessively self-conscious and worry about being embarrassed, judged, or humiliated by others. Some common social anxiety fears include:

These fears can be so intense that they interfere with a person’s daily life. It’s common for social anxiety disorder to begin in adolescence or early adulthood. It can persist for many years if left untreated. The exact causes of social anxiety are not fully understood, but a combination of genetic, environmental, and psychological factors is believed to contribute to its development.

Specific Phobias

Unlike GAD, which can cause anxiety symptoms without warning or a trigger, specific phobias are a type of anxiety disorder with an obvious and consistent trigger. It’s common for these triggers to have little or no actual danger associated with them. Phobias can also develop due to a traumatic experience. For instance, someone who was bitten by a dog may develop a canine phobia and avoid dogs out of fear of it happening again.

Some common specific phobias include:

Someone who suffers from a specific phobia will avoid that place, person, or thing at all costs. This can make living a normal life a huge challenge. To treat specific phobias, clinicians use a type of treatment called exposure therapy.

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How Are Anxiety Disorders Treated?

Anxiety disorders are treated using a multifaceted approach under the guidance of mental health professionals. The two most common treatments used are psychotherapy, also called talk therapy, and medication. For most, a combination of the two is the best course of action.

Working with a professional clinician like those at Footprints to Recovery means you’ll benefit from an individualized anxiety treatment plan that takes your needs into account. Your treatment plan includes the most effective evidence-based therapies as directed by your therapist. This plan helps you better understand anxiety so you can make positive changes in your life. With help, it is possible to live a happy and healthy life free from anxiety.

Therapies for Anxiety Disorders

A mental health counselor can help you manage symptoms of anxiety through evidence-based psychotherapy methods for treating anxiety. These therapies are centered around managing symptoms, changing thinking and behavior patterns, and preventing debilitating anxiety from returning in the future.

Common anxiety disorder therapies include:

While in treatment for an anxiety disorder, the goal is to make positive changes wherever possible. This includes identifying triggers, building coping skills, and improving your ability to communicate with others.

While undergoing treatment for anxiety, you can:

It’s key when searching for help with anxiety to trust a licensed and certified mental health treatment facility.

Exposure Therapy for Anxiety

Have you ever heard the expression ‘facing your fears’? Exposure therapy is a kind of treatment used for various mental health disorders including anxiety. The goal is to help someone confront the people, places, or objects that trigger anxiety rather than practice avoidance. Avoiding things that cause anxiety is a short-term solution that can make anxiety worse over time. People with anxiety tend to build things up in their minds and see them as far more worrisome than they are.

During exposure therapy, a therapist introduces the anxiety-causing entity in a safe and controlled environment. This slow, calculated ‘exposure’ is aimed at reducing the fear associated with the entity and decreasing avoidance behavior.

There are four main types of exposure therapy used in mental health treatment:

Our professional mental health therapists can assist you in deciding which type of exposure therapy is right for your needs.

In Vivo Exposure

In vivo exposure is a direct confrontation with the anxiety-causing entity. For example, someone who is afraid of spiders would be asked to be near, look at, or even hold a spider in their hand during treatment. The exposure is conducted repeatedly to allow the individual to experience the anxiety, observe that it naturally decreases over time, and learn that they can tolerate and cope with the feared situations. The goal is to break the cycle of avoidance and fear and promote habituation, where the anxiety response diminishes with repeated exposures.

Imaginal Exposure

Imaginal exposure is a technique used to help individuals confront and overcome their fears or traumatic memories by vividly imagining them in a controlled and therapeutic setting. It involves guided imagery and visualization of the feared or distressing situation.

During imaginal exposure, the therapist helps the individual create a detailed mental image of their fears. This may involve recalling specific details, such as sights, sounds, smells, and emotions associated with the feared or traumatic experience. The individual is encouraged to immerse themselves in the imagery, fully engaging their senses and emotions. This helps develop a level of comfortability that was not previously there.

Virtual Reality Exposure

Virtual reality is a new kind of exposure therapy that allows therapists to create computer-generated situations which are then viewed via VR headset. The idea is to mimic the thing in real life that’s causing anxiety and reduce the fears associated with it. The virtual environment is designed to replicate the feared or anxiety-inducing situations as closely as possible. For example, someone with a fear of flying might be exposed to a virtual airplane cabin and airport setting. They can virtually ‘ride’ in the plane from take-off to landing to help prepare for the real thing in the future.

Interceptive Exposure

The physical symptoms of anxiety can be challenging to overcome. Interceptive exposure involves exposing individuals to bodily sensations and physical symptoms associated with anxiety or panic attacks. It involves intentionally triggering and confronting the internal sensations that individuals may fear or interpret as threatening. A therapist may instruct you to engage in exercises that increase heart rate, cause shortness of breath, sweating, and other physical symptoms of anxiety. The purpose is to show someone that these sensations or feelings are not dangerous or life-threatening.

Interceptive exposure is most valuable for those who suffer from panic disorder and panic attacks. It teaches someone that it’s possible to break the cycle of panic and anxiety by coping with symptoms you can recognize and understand.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a type of treatment for anxiety conducted by a professional therapist that helps people recognize the interconnection between thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. Changing how we think and behave can help manage symptoms of anxiety by removing negativity and irrational thinking and replacing them with positive thoughts and taking a balanced approach to life’s ups and downs.

Anxiety, particularly with specific phobias, is often centered around an unrealistic view of a thing or situation. Changing how you think can lead to a more balanced, solidified thought process that won’t let the worry and doubts of anxiety creep in and affect cognitive ability. CBT sessions with a therapist are weekly, structured programs that have been proven effective in all stages of the recovery process.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

Dialectical behavioral therapy is another form of psychotherapy used to treat anxiety disorders. The goal is to use skill-based exercises to manage stress. The therapy was originally designed to treat borderline personality disorder, but its effectiveness in treating other mental health disorders led to widespread use.

At its core, DBT helps develop important skills such as:

These skills can be helpful for individuals with anxiety disorders as they learn to manage and cope with anxious thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. 

Interpersonal Therapy (IPT)

Interpersonal therapy (IPT) is a type of psychotherapy that initially treated those with depression that has since shown benefits for individuals with anxiety. During interpersonal therapy, treatment is broken down into three phases. In phase one, you can learn to view social anxiety disorder as an illness that needs coping, rather than as a weakness or deficiency. In phase two, your therapist works with you to resolve specific concerns, particularly in areas of role transition, conflict, and grief. 

To help you build confidence, IPT incorporates role-playing exercises that encourage you to express your feelings and communicate in a healthy, direct way. As you process through outpatient treatment for anxiety, IPT also encourages you to build a social network of close and trusting relationships. In the final phase, you and your therapist will review your progress, address any current concerns, and prepare for future challenges and experiences.

These medications are designed to help manage symptoms of anxiety disorders in both the short and long term. Your clinical team manages medications and may change or alter treatment based on response to treatment.

Medication for Anxiety Disorders

There are several medications proven effective in the treatment of anxiety disorders. The medications are prescribed and monitored by clinical professionals. Medications are often used in conjunction with talk therapy treatments for the most effective recovery. A consultation with the team at our mental health treatment facility in New Jersey can offer more insight into the right medication for your needs.

Some of the most common medications used to treat anxiety include:

These medications are designed to help manage symptoms of anxiety disorders in both the short and long term. Your clinical team manages medications and may change or alter treatment based on response to treatment.

Antidepressant Medications

Antidepressant medications can help reduce the symptoms of anxiety disorders, depression, and other mental health conditions. 

The most common forms of antidepressants include:

With that being said, it can take several weeks for antidepressants to start working, so it is important to remain patient and take the medication exactly as prescribed to maximize their effectiveness and minimize potential side effects. However, it is important to understand the potential risks associated with taking these medications. In some cases, antidepressants can increase suicidal thoughts or behaviors in people under the age of 25.

For this reason, our mental health professionals will explain to the potential risks and benefits prior to prescribing antidepressants. During outpatient treatment for anxiety, we will help you find the best medication for you, as well as provide support and resources for managing any side effects that may occur. 

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are a type of antidepressant medication that works by increasing the availability of serotonin, a neurotransmitter involved in mood regulation.

Some common brand name SSRIs used in mental health treatment include:

By increasing serotonin levels, SSRI medications can improve your mood and lower your symptoms of anxiety symptoms. For this reason, these medications can help alleviate anxiety symptoms and are considered effective treatments for many anxiety disorders.

Serotonin-Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs)

Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) are also used to increase the levels of serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain.

Some common brand name SNRIs used in mental health treatment include:

Similar to SSRI medications, SNRIs can assist in the management of anxiety-related symptoms. By increasing the amount of serotonin and norepinephrine in your brain, SNRIs can help reduce feelings of anxiety. As a result, these medications have been shown to be effective in treating generalized anxiety, social anxiety, and panic attacks as well as other anxiety-related disorders such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Anti-Anxiety Medications

Anti-anxiety medications, also known as anxiolytics, can help reduce the symptoms of anxiety disorders.

Anti-anxiety medications include:

While these medications are helpful for the short-term relief of anxiety or periods of insomnia, they are typically not a long-term solution. This is because both medications come with adverse side effects and overdose risks.


Benzodiazepines are a type of medication with sedative qualities used to treat anxiety disorders. They are particularly helpful for those with panic disorder or any severe anxiety issues as they work quickly to relieve symptoms. They work by enhancing the effects of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a neurotransmitter that helps to reduce the activity of nerve cells in the brain.

Common brand-name benzodiazepines used to treat anxiety disorders include:

In the short term, these medications reduce anxiety symptoms, including feelings of nervousness, restlessness, and physical tension. Benzodiazepines are not recommended for long-term treatment of anxiety due to their high risk for physical dependency and abuse. When you stop taking the medication after a long period, you may experience significant withdrawal symptoms.

Some common symptoms of benzodiazepine withdrawal include:

Tapering off of the medication rather than stopping abruptly is often the best course of action for a safe and effective recovery.


Buspirone is another anti-anxiety medication used to treat anxiety disorders. It works by affecting serotonin receptors in the brain, specifically the serotonin 1A (5-HT1A) receptors. It acts as a partial agonist at these receptors, which means it enhances serotonin activity to help reduce anxiety. Buspirone does not cause physical dependence or withdrawal symptoms when usage stops. It also does not have the same sedative effects or potential for abuse as benzodiazepines. 

With that being said, the medication can result in adverse side effects. Many medications and some food can interact with buspirone, altering the medication’s effects. While taking buspirone, it’s important to talk to your doctor about the different medications you are taking and discuss any side effects you may experience.

Anxiety Disorder Recovery Options

At Footprints to Recovery Mental Health, we provide a comprehensive range of services to support individuals with anxiety disorders and other mental health conditions. Our treatment approach involves evidence-based therapies and medication to effectively manage symptoms of anxiety. Our dedicated team of mental health professionals is committed to helping you follow the path to recovery. We offer unique levels of care to ensure that everyone can find a safe and effective treatment plan tailored to their specific needs. Overcoming the challenges associated with anxiety disorder is our shared goal.

“We take pride in our work and are committed to making each of our clients happy.”

Treatment for Anxiety Disorders at Footprints to Recovery Mental Health

At Footprints to Recovery Mental Health, treatment for anxiety disorders is available to help you manage your symptoms and develop coping strategies. Our qualified specialists will guide you through mindfulness techniques for identifying triggers that contribute to distressing thoughts. With the support of our mental health experts, you’ll be provided guidance and advice to help better manage your anxiety disorder. 

Get in touch with our team today and explore the anxiety disorder treatment programs we offer. Verify your insurance coverage and receive a free consultation from our team of professionals.

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