CBT for Depression, Anxiety, and Adjustment Problems

Utilizing CBT for Depression

Depression can be characterized as a feeling of sadness or emptiness that lasts for at least two weeks and is experienced most days. Usually, there are additional problems that include a loss of interest in pleasurable aspects of life, trouble with concentration or short-term memory, appetite changes, sleep problems, changes in sexual interest, and feelings of hopelessness. Using CBT for depression focuses on changing the depressive thinking patterns, increasing activity levels for daily routines, increasing pleasurable events in life, and being more engaged with friends and family.

Woman Smiling

Utilizing CBT for Anxiety


Panic is a form of an anxiety attack usually stemming from an issue causing an individual distress. Usually someone with panic will begin to stay close to home and overly monitor their internal processes such as heart-rate or breathing. While medication can help, usually managing anxiety includes learning not to be afraid of the panic attacks, developing calming strategies, and refusing to build up safety zones. Using CBT for panic disorders focuses on managing your fears and gradually changing the way someone thinks.


Phobias are extreme fears, to specific situations, events, or objects including, but not limited to performing socially, meeting strangers, or being exposed to certain animals. If a phobia exists, usually the person tries to avoid the trigger, or if avoidance can’t be accomplished, there is strong anxiety in anticipation of the trigger. Using CBT for phobias focuses on exposing yourself to the specific phobia(s) and can vary from person to person.

Generalized Anxiety

Generalized Anxiety is usually characterized by chronic and hard-to-control worrisome thoughts, tension in the muscles, stomach problems, tingly in the hands or feet, irritability, problems with sleep, and feelings of heightened emotions. Using CBT for generalized anxiety focuses on changing the believability of the worrisome ideas, learning to reduce the physical symptoms of anxiety, and facing the fearful ideas head-on.


Obsessive-CompulsiveDisorder is a frequent set of intrusive ideas that trigger anxiety and that cannot easily be controlled, usually consuming well over one-hour of someone’s day. The anxious feeling is often reduced if the person performs certain routines or rituals, and these rituals can be overt behaviors or internal mental activities (such as repeatedly saying a word or prayer.) Using CBT for OCD focuses on a technique referred to as exposure-response prevention, or ExRP. ExRP includes prolonged exposure to images or real-life situation of the content of the obsessive thoughts, along with prevention of the rituals.

Habit Disorders

Habit Disorders are typically destructive behaviors that develop because of their tendency to reduce stress while being performed. Examples of more common habit disorders include skin picking and trichotillomania (hair pulling). Using CBT for habit disorders focuses on reversing the habits with reversing the habits with replacement behaviors and changing the ideas associated with the destructive habit.

Utilizing CBT for Adjustment Disorders

Adjustment Disorders are short-term (less than six months) reactions that are unhealthy, in response to identifiable stressors. The problems can be experienced as depression, anxiety, or behavioral outbursts, or a combination of these. Using CBT for adjustment disorders focuses on changing the ideas associated with the stressor, use of mindfulness strategies to reduce physical stress, and development of problem- solving strategies.

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