Behavior therapy is a common modality that treats anxiety in all people. Whether you are a man, a woman, trans, or non-binary, behavior therapy can be extraordinarily useful in helping you to live a better quality of life. This article talks about how men can benefit from going to a behavioral therapist and working on their patterns of behavior that could be causing them distress.
Men Suffer from Anxiety
The prevailing view of someone with anxiety tends to be female. A woman is “allowed” to have a panic attack, and society will not judge her (well, for the most part). Of course, women are viewed as histrionic or dramatic when they have anxiety attacks, and this is something that tends to happen quite often. However, when compared to men, women have it easy when it comes to revealing anxious feelings. Men are viewed as weak if they admit that they are anxious, and heaven forbid that they have panic attacks and speak about them openly. What is the solution to this problem? It is an option for the men that have anxiety to go to behavior therapy. By starting therapy, men will improve their quality of life and if they’re in a relationship, they’ll likely begin to notice that connection improve. When you begin therapy, you’ll likely find that your relationships (romantic and platonic) get better. There are so many advantages to seeking treatment for mental health issues as a man. Here are four ways that behavior therapy can help men live with chronic anxiety and panic.
1. Revealing Hidden Anxious Feelings
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is considered an anxiety disorder, and men who have it experience rumination as well as the inability to turn their brains off. One of the primary treatments for OCD is behavioral therapy, including CBT or exposure therapy. People who have OCD can experience shame if they have not come to terms with their diagnosis. For men who have OCD, this shame can be magnified because of the societal stigma surrounding men having mental illness. If you are self-stigmatizing, you will find it difficult to come to terms with your diagnosis. However, behavioral therapy can help you cope. A competent behavioral therapist will help your client work on self-stigmatization.
2. Figuring Out Your Triggers
As previously stated, men are often encouraged to repress their emotions. The only feeling they are “allowed” to have is anger. The more masculine you are, the angrier you appear. When a man who has PTSD or panic attacks of any kind enters therapy, he has the unique opportunity to address why he is panicking. When you know the source of your panic attacks, you can empower yourself and begin to manage them. A behavioral therapist specializes in helping people identify their triggers and figure out how to develop coping strategies for panic. If a man comes into therapy feeling shame for having panic attacks, a goal would be to break through that shame and build self-actualization and acceptance. You can’t change the fact that you suffer from anxiety, but you can learn to manage it better.
3. Behavioral Therapy Helps Men Cope with Work Stress
According to heteronormative society, men are supposed to be the breadwinners. They provide for their families by bringing home money and financial stability. Even though this is an antiquated idea from the 19th century or dating even further back, it’s still prevalent in the 21st century. Men often feel the need to over-perform at work, which causes them to have intense levels of anxiety and impacts their stress. When a man’s stress level has reached an apex, he needs to attend to his health, otherwise more dire consequences can occur, such as a heart attack, stroke, or other severe illnesses. Behavior therapy is an excellent way for men to address their stress levels safely with the help of a trained mental health professional. Their therapist can help them change their behavioral patterns of over-working (if this is a problem) and get them to practice more balance and less stress-inducing habits.
4. Curbing Self-Destructive Behavior – Substance Abuse
In addition to OCD and anxiety, there are other compulsive mental health issues that can make it difficult for men to function, such as substance abuse. Men aren’t allowed to express emotions other than anger, which makes it difficult for them to feel at ease. Many men turn to substance abuse to self-medicate and distract them from feeling anxious or depressed. Unfortunately, drinking or doing drugs can lead to dangerous addictions. Many people who have addiction issues turn to behavioral therapy where a therapist helps people who are struggling with addiction examine and address their unhealthy behaviors. Once they recognize what’s hurting them, the counselor supports their client in finding better coping mechanisms so that they can live productive lives. Here’s yet another instance of behavioral therapy helping people (especially men) cope better with their feelings and gain better emotional insight.
Give Behavioral Therapy a Try!
If you’re a man and people tell you don’t have the right to express your anxiety, and you feel obligated to hide panic attacks from others, behavioral therapy could help. Struggling with intrusive thoughts from OCD? Behavioral therapy can be the type of treatment that enables you to confront those scary thoughts. There are so many different ways that this kind of therapy helps men specifically and behavioral therapy can be a game changer. Whether you’re working with a therapist in your city or talking with an online behavior therapist, this type of therapy is excellent for men who live with chronic anxiety.
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