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About Anxiety

Hundreds of clinical research studies have shown that cognitive behavioral therapy can successfully treat anxiety, and anxiety treatment at the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Center of Hawaii relies on these proven treatments that can reduce symptoms of worry, tension, physical anxiety sensations (e.g., pounding heart, shortness of breath), and the life-limiting avoidance of situations that can cause anxiety.

In addition to our specialized phobia treatment program our therapists have experience in successfully treating the full spectrum of anxiety conditions.


Generalized Anxiety Disorder

People with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (or GAD) chronically worry and find it hard to stop worrying, even when things are going well. These worries can result from any number of life situations such as money, work or school, family concerns, health, concerns about the future, or even little things, like being late for an appointment or maintaining the home or car. Although almost everyone worries to some degree, people with GAD spend the majority of their time worrying and find their worries to be out of control. Muscle tension, insomnia and irritability are common.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for GAD has been found in dozens of clinical studies to reduce worry and overall tension and to improve a person’s quality of life. Treatment involves testing assumptions (such as vulnerability or incompetence) that feed the worries, visualizing the more realistic, positive outcomes, and using relaxation and other techniques to respond to worry as well as reduce life’s general tension.

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Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Individuals with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) have a need to do certain rituals, such as washing hands or performing certain routines, in order to avoid anxiety. Sometimes, these rituals can take up large amounts of time. Treatment for OCD includes exposure to trigger situations while preventing the compulsive response. The gold standard treatment for OCD is a Cognitive Behavioral treatment called Exposure and Response Prevention (EX/RP). For example, a person with a hand-washing compulsion would be asked in the therapy session to get his or her hands dirty and not wash them for a while.

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Panic Disorder

In panic disorder, people experience physical symptoms of anxiety (for example, rapid heart beat, shortness of breath, sweating or dizziness) that come on suddenly and without warning. Treatment for panic disorder includes ways of thinking about anxiety that can actually reduce anxiety symptoms as well as exposure exercises to train the brain and the body to see physical symptoms as safe rather than dangerous. This CBT approach to panic has been found to benefit more than 80% of individuals who suffer from panic symptoms, and the majority never experience another panic attack again.

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Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD occurs when individuals experience distressing symptoms following exposure to a life-threatening event. These symptoms could include intrusive thoughts or nightmares about the event, and extremely strong emotions when faced with reminders of the event. Often, people with PTSD will avoid any reminders of the event, including reminders that are otherwise objectively safe. Many people experience these types of symptoms after a stressful experience but most people adjust. When these symptoms last more than six months PTSD may be suspected.

PTSD can be cured. As individuals learn to talk about their trauma, their perspective on the trauma can shift and people can experience emotional processing. Most people experience substantial relief of symptoms as a result of treatment.

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Social Anxiety Disorder

For people with Social Anxiety Disorder (also known as Social Phobia), social situations can be nerve-wracking, if not debilitating. People with social anxiety experience fear, worry, or anxious physical symptoms in situations where they might feel embarrassed or judged. This can limit relationships as well as school or work performance. Cognitive behavioral therapy for social anxiety focuses on thoughts and behaviors that reinforce the anxiety, including common thinking errors such as mind-reading or catastrophizing, as well as gradual and safe exposure to situations that were previously feared or avoided (like going to a social event).

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Finding Help

Although medication can help some people with anxiety, evidence shows that cognitive behavioral therapy is a more-effective and longer-lasting cure than medication for many anxiety conditions. The Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Center of Hawaii offers free 25-minute consultations to all new patients. Call 808-779-5807 to schedule an appointment today.


The Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Center of Hawaii

615 Piikoi St., Suite 1503, Honolulu, HI 96814

Tel: 808-779-5807 Fax: 855-502-8887 Email: info {at}