Treatment for general anxiety disorder (GAD) falls into 2 categories:
Since psychotherapy can be as effective as medication, it is usually the first treatment that is tried. Researchers have found that cognitive behavioral therapy is effective in treating GAD. The combination of psychotherapy with medications tends to be more effective than either treatment alone.
Although medical care can help most people with GAD, treatment success varies from person to person. Some experience an improvement after only a few months of treatment, while with others it may take a year or more. Treatment can be complicated by having another condition at the same time, such as substance abuse, depression, or other anxiety disorders.
Psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and specially trained primary care providers are trained to treat GAD. If your doctor doesn't have special training, ask for the name of a doctor or counselor who does.
Treatment involves the following:
Currently, surgical procedures are not a treatment option for GAD.
Anxiety disorders. National Institute of Mental Health website. Available at: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/anxiety-disorders/index.shtml. Update March 2016. Accessed January 13, 2017.
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Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Anxiety and Depression Association of America website. Available at: https://www.adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/generalized-anxiety-disorder-gad. Updated December 2016. Accessed January 13, 2017.
Generalized anxiety disorder. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114697/Generalized-anxiety-disorder. Updated October 13, 2016. Accessed January 13, 2017.
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Stern T, Rosenbaum J, et al. Massachusetts General Hospital Comprehensive Clinical Psychiatry. Philadelphia, PA: Mosby Elsevier; 2008.
Last reviewed December 2016 by Adrian Preda, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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