3 No-Medication Treatment Modalities for Anxiety and Depression

The World Health Organization (WHO) says one in eight people has a mental disorder. The pandemic made it worse. In fact, in 2020, the global prevalence of anxiety and depressive disorders rose by 25%.

Even as the world returns to normal, it must continue battling the long-term adverse effects of the pandemic on the mental health of people. 

Fortunately, there are ways of dealing with some mental health issues without medication, like these three treatment modalities used for anxiety and depression treatment in Dubai.

  1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a form of structured psychotherapy or talk therapy. The American Psychological Association (APA) reports it is an effective psychological treatment for various issues, such as anxiety, depression, marital problems, substance abuse, and eating disorders.

It has a simple premise. How you see or perceive things (i.e., your cognition) affects how you respond to them — i.e., how you feel about them and how you behave as a result. Therefore, by changing how your mind sees or perceives things, you can change how you feel and behave.

CBT also posits that psychological problems may be because of learned or acquired problematic behavior. Thus, if you can identify such unproductive and ineffective behavior, you can work toward unlearning them, which can help resolve your issues.

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How Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Works

CBT consists of talk sessions, and it is a three-part program.

  • Evaluation of Cognition

In the first phase, the therapist will try to understand how you (the subject) think, learn, remember, and perceive things. They will also gauge what your learned behaviors are.

  • Exposure of Cognitive Flaws

During the second phase, the therapist will help expose your flawed thought processes (i.e., cognition) and learned unproductive behavior, if any.

  • Equipping With Coping Mechanisms

Finally, the therapist will help you learn about coping mechanisms that you can practice to counter or mitigate your symptoms.

The Features of CBT

The following are the characteristics of cognitive behavioral therapy.

  • Present-Focused

CBT is unique because of its emphasis on the present instead of looking back on whatever past events formed the way you think and process information. Understanding how you think, feel, and act now is the therapist’s priority.

  • Solution-Oriented

In CBT, the goal is to find a resolution to your psychological problems. The therapist will help you develop coping mechanisms to alleviate or counter your symptoms.

  • Collaborative

CBT is a collaborative process. Its effectiveness will hinge significantly on your cooperation.

  • Homework

The therapist will give you assignments to reinforce what you discuss, discover, and agree upon during a CBT session. Thus, your cooperation is an essential component of your treatment.

  1. Neurofeedback Therapy

Neurofeedback therapy is a mechanism that will help you train your brain so it can regulate itself. If your brain can self-regulate, the way you think (your cognition), feel (your emotions), and act (your behavior) will naturally improve.

Neurofeedback is a type of biofeedback. To train the brain to regulate itself, the neurofeedback therapist monitors brain activity using brain sensors and, with the help of special software and audio-visual cues, relays this information to the brain in real-time.

In neurofeedback, the premise is that the brain is powerful and can regulate itself. Thus, if you let the brain know how it is doing, it can adjust its activity accordingly.

How Neurofeedback Therapy Works

Neurofeedback therapy is a two-part process.

  • Brain Mapping

The first phase involves mapping your brain wave activity. This assessment will tell your therapist which areas of the brain require attention.

Brain mapping is particularly valuable if you know something’s wrong but can’t pinpoint what it is exactly. This step is also crucial for those who wish to improve the way they work and perform.

  • Actual Neurofeedback Therapy Sessions

In a neurofeedback therapy session, the therapist attaches electroencephalographic (EEG) sensors to specific places on your scalp. Actual placement will depend on the particular condition that must be addressed, as revealed during your brain mapping session.

During the therapy, you will watch a movie or a TV show. The EEG sensors will then send your brain signals to a computer for processing and analysis.

Whenever your brain registers positive activity, the audio and video of whatever show you’re watching will become clearer. This serves as valuable feedback to your brain, telling it that whatever brain wave pattern it has at the moment is what you want.

When this happens often enough, it will reinforce positive brain activity. It will induce your brain to regulate itself to demonstrate more of the same positive brain wave pattern.

  1. Hypnotherapy

Hypnotherapy is a type of talk therapy that uses hypnosis to amplify results.

Hypnosis is a trance-like state characterized by a mind that is completely relaxed and unbothered by outside stimuli, thus enabling it to concentrate fully and focus entirely on whatever issues it must tackle.

During hypnotherapy, the therapist will talk to you like in a regular therapeutic session. However, to ensure total concentration, they will place you under hypnosis.

In short, it’s still psychotherapy. However, putting you in a trance will remove distractions, ensuring you can concentrate fully on what you and your therapist are talking about, and you can provide the answers your therapist needs to help you deal with your psychological problems.

How Hypnotherapy Works

Hypnotherapy does not always begin with hypnosis. Typically, your therapist will discuss what you want to achieve in the first session. Do you want help managing the stress caused by preparing for your ACCA exams, or do you want treatment for your anxiety?

Your therapist will also assess whether you’re a good candidate for hypnotherapy. Hypnotherapy is typically not a good fit for those who have hallucinations, delusions, and personality disorders.

After learning what you want to achieve and deciding if you’re a good candidate for hypnotherapy, your therapist will devise a treatment plan. Note that hypnotherapy is often used as an adjunct to other types of therapy.

In the subsequent sessions, your therapist will start practicing specific techniques to induce a trance-like state, making you more receptive to your therapist’s gentle suggestions. Once the objective for the session has been achieved, your therapist will bring you out of hypnosis.

This same cycle will be repeated in the following sessions.

Treating Anxiety and Depression Without Medication

There are different ways to treat anxiety and depressive disorders. 

If you want treatment modalities that don’t involve medication, you can ask your doctor about cognitive behavioral therapy, neurofeedback therapy, and hypnotherapy.


Dr. Upasana Gala is the founder and CEO of Evolve Brain Training, an award-winning neurofeedback-centered institute that focuses on using non-invasive brain training techniques to maximize the brain’s true potential. Earning a doctorate in Neuroscience from the revered Baylor College of Medicine, Dr. Gala has spent over a decade trying to unravel the way neurochemical and neurophysiological changes in the brain affect the way we interact with the world. Her goal is to share her knowledge, encourage others to tap into and expand their brain’s capabilities, and dispel any myths surrounding our most complex organ.