How is generalized anxiety disorder treated? (2023)

Everyone is afraid. But people withgeneralized anxiety disorder(GAD) are often distracted by their worries, avoid activities that may cause them anxiety, and are "nervous" without explanation. In most cases of GAD, anxiety negatively affects relationships and/or a person's performance at school or work.

GAD treatmentaims to help people feel better mentally and physically, and increase engagement with the people, places and situations that previously concerned them.

Given the far-reaching effects that fear can have even on daily functioninglow level anxietyit may be worth working on that which does not meet the threshold for a reliable diagnosis.

How is generalized anxiety disorder treated? (1)

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How is generalized anxiety disorder treated? (2)

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Psychotherapy is a popular form of treatment for GAD. “Talk therapy” can be done by aVariety of mental health professionals., and while the approaches described below may overlap, they are guided by different theories and emphases.

Cognitive behavior therapy

Cognitive behavior therapy(CBT) is the gold standard of psychotherapy and one of the most popular treatments for GAD. Work tested for effective as in younger patients,CBT focuses on current difficulties and situations. CBT is usually a short-term, structured treatment that focuses on the interplay between conscious thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that perpetuate anxiety.

Acceptance and attachment therapy

Acceptance and attachment therapy(ACT) is another current, problem-focused talk therapy for the treatment of GAD. Although similar to CBT, the goal of ACT is to reduce the struggle to control anxious thoughts or uncomfortable feelings and to increase participation in meaningful activities that align with chosen life values. ACT can improve symptoms in people with GAD and may be an especially good choice forolder adults.

Other talk therapies

Two other types of "talk therapy" (psychodynamic therapy and interpersonal psychotherapy) can also be used to treat GAD.

(Video) Health Tips - Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Psychodynamic psychotherapy, also known as perception-oriented therapy, is based on the idea that thoughts and emotions that are outside of our conscious mind (i.e., outside of our awareness) can cause internal conflict and manifest as anxiety. .

Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT) is a temporary, present-focused treatment based on the assumption that relationship problems can cause or perpetuate symptoms and that resolving these problems can help reduce symptoms.

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Anxiety medications work by interacting with brain chemicals called neurotransmitters. Certain medications can block the absorption or increase the effects of one or more of these chemicals.

oused different types of drugsTreatments for anxiety include:

  • selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
  • Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)
  • Anxiolytic
  • tricyclic antidepressants

Also, another "older" category of antidepressants, monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), is sometimes used.

Antidepressants have a well-documented ability to help GAD symptoms, but they can take several weeks to work. SSRIs, such as sertraline (Zoloft) or fluoxetine (Prozac), are generally considered good first-line options for treating GAD because they are relatively safe medications that are generally well tolerated by patients.

Anxiolytics such as benzodiazepines do not treat the underlying cause of anxiety, but they are effective in treating the symptoms. However, this class of drugs has some notable drawbacks, including potential side effects such as sedation and dependency. Buspirone (Buspar) is one drug in this class that is approved for the treatment of GAD and is not known to be addictive. There is evidence that buspirone may also help potentiate antidepressants.

Tricyclic antidepressants are an older type of antidepressant that is used less often because they can have some potentially significant side effects.

auto help

Self-help refers to less formal approaches that treat anxiety symptoms with limited (or no) guidance. there are for examplevarious self help booksthat provide help in a step-by-step format and reflect evidence-based psychotherapies for GAD such as CBT or ACT.

With the advent of smartphone technology and the growing popularity of interactive applications, there are now alsoelectronic self-help optionsthat offer programs based on evidence-based GAD treatment. There are also apps with local anxiety management tools that you can do yourself, such asRelaxation techniques and mindfulness meditation exercises.

The best option for you

Talking to a doctor, a doctor or a psychologist, is the best way to determine the next steps. Depending on the nature and extent of the anxiety symptoms, one or a combination of the approaches described above may be helpful.

In general, mild or intermittent anxiety can be improved by using self-help resources. Self-help resources are also a good option for those who want to seek evidence-based psychotherapy and do not have access to specialized care. Self-help opportunities can also be used in conjunction with ongoing treatment or to prevent relapse and encourage continued progress after psychotherapy has been completed.

(Video) Anxiety: Signs & Treatment Options for Anxiety Disorder | Stanford

If your symptoms are persistent, interfere with your daily functioning and/or important relationships in your life, or are more noticeable to others, more formal treatment may be worth considering.

Psychotherapy may be indicated for moderate to severe anxiety. Medications can help with persistent anxiety of any degree.

When weighing psychotherapy versus medication, it is important to keep in mind that psychotherapy may take longer to relieve symptoms than medication, but its effects may also last longer (i.e., insights and skills learned in psychotherapy are retained). after treatment ends). . And for some people with GAD, maximizing treatment (taking medication and engaging in psychotherapy) maximizes results.

Making the decision that is right for you is really a process of ongoing evaluation. If you decide to take a self-help approach, keep in mind that persistent or worsening symptoms are signs that you would benefit from an in-person evaluation by a doctor.

For drug or mental health treatment, consult a trusted professional and ask questions to fully understand what type of treatment you will receive and its risks and benefits (Read more about deciding if a drug is right for you here).

When seeking treatment, it's important to be patient and engage in regular monitoring of symptoms (and, in the case of drug treatment, side effects) with your doctor.

A word from Verywell

While the symptoms associated with GAD are undeniably uncomfortable, the good news is that they are treatable. The treatments described above will take work, but the work will be worth it in the form of relief and relief from anxiety and worry.

Dealing with Generalized Anxiety Disorder

4 fuentes

(Video) Treating generalised anxiety disorder (GAD)

Verywell Mind uses only quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts in our articles. read ourspublishing processto learn more about how we verify our content and keep it accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. David D, Cristea I, Hofmann SG.Why cognitive behavioral therapy is the current gold standard of psychotherapy.frontal psychiatry. 2018;9:4. doi:10.3389/fpsyt.2018.00004

  2. Hans E, Hiller W.A meta-analysis of non-randomised efficacy trials in outpatient cognitive behavioral therapy for anxiety disorders in adults.Clin Psychology Rev. 2013;33(8):954-964. doi:10.1016/j.cpr.2013.07.003

  3. Higa-McMillan CK, Francis SE, Rith-Najarian L, Chorpita BF.Evidence Base Update: 50 Years of Research on the Treatment of Anxiety in Children and Adolescents.J Clin Child Adolesc Psychol. 2016;45(2):91-113. doi:10.1080/15374416.2015.1046177

  4. Petkus AJ, MA, Wetherell JL.Acceptance and attachment therapy in the elderly: justification and considerations.Practice cognitive behavior. 2013;20(1):47-56. doi:10.1016/j.cbpra.2011.07.004

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How is generalized anxiety disorder treated? (3)

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Deborah Glasofer, PhD, is a professor of clinical psychology and a practitioner of cognitive behavioral therapy.

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What is the most effective treatment for Generalised anxiety disorder? ›

CBT is one of the most effective treatments for GAD. There are several ways you may be offered self-help and CBT: you work through a CBT workbook or computer course in your own time. you work through a CBT workbook or computer course with the support of a therapist who you see every 1 or 2 weeks.

Is generalized anxiety disorder curable? ›

GAD can make daily life feel like a constant state of worry, fear, and dread. The good news is GAD is treatable. Learn more about the symptoms of GAD and how to find help.

What is first line treatment for generalized anxiety disorder? ›

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are generally considered first-line therapy for GAD and PD.

Can I live a normal life with anxiety disorder? ›

People with anxiety disorders feel worry and fear constantly, and these feelings of distress can severely impact their daily lives. Living with an anxiety disorder can feel crippling, but with time and proper treatment, many people can manage their anxiety and live a fulfilling life.

What is the root cause of generalized anxiety disorder? ›

People with generalized anxiety disorder may have a history of significant life changes, traumatic or negative experiences during childhood, or a recent traumatic or negative event. Chronic medical illnesses or other mental health disorders may increase risk.

Can you fix GAD without medication? ›

Whether you suffer from generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), social anxiety disorder, or another form of anxiety, we may be able to help you reduce or eliminate your symptoms completely. It is certainly possible to treat anxiety without medication!

Is Generalised anxiety disorder a serious mental illness? ›

Yes; generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is a serious mental illness that is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5).

Is general anxiety a mental illness? ›

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is a mental health condition that causes fear, a constant feeling of being overwhelmed and excessive worry about everyday things. It can affect children and adults, and is manageable with talk therapy and/or medications.

What is the first drug of choice for anxiety? ›

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) SSRIs and SNRIs are often the first-line treatment for anxiety. Common SSRI brands are Celexa, Lexapro, Luvox, Paxil, and Zoloft.

At what point should anxiety be treated? ›

How is anxiety first treated? Anxiety that interferes with day-to-day functioning or affects work, school, or social life, may be a symptom of an anxiety disorder. This interruption in daily routine is often the point at which treatment interventions are needed.

How do you get diagnosed with GAD? ›

Healthcare providers diagnose GAD when your worrying happens on most days and for at least 6 months. Worrying may be something you are so used to, you may think it's just "how you are." Common worries include your health, money, family, or work.

What are the 5 symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder? ›

Symptoms of GAD include:
  • Feeling restless, wound-up, or on-edge.
  • Being easily fatigued.
  • Having difficulty concentrating.
  • Being irritable.
  • Having headaches, muscle aches, stomachaches, or unexplained pains.
  • Difficulty controlling feelings of worry.
  • Having sleep problems, such as difficulty falling or staying asleep.

What is considered severe anxiety? ›

You feel like you're worrying too much and it's interfering with your work, relationships or other parts of your life. Your fear, worry or anxiety is upsetting to you and difficult to control. You feel depressed, have trouble with alcohol or drug use, or have other mental health concerns along with anxiety.

Does generalized anxiety qualify for disability? ›

Those with anxiety disorder can qualify for disability, and even get disability for anxiety, so long as they are able to prove to the SSA that their anxiety makes it impossible to work.

What makes anxiety worse? ›

Stress. Daily stressors like traffic jams or missing your train can cause anyone anxiety. But long-term or chronic stress can lead to long-term anxiety and worsening symptoms, as well as other health problems. Stress can also lead to behaviors like skipping meals, drinking alcohol, or not getting enough sleep.

What happens in the brain with generalized anxiety disorder? ›

The participants with GAD also exhibited lower neural activity in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex. This area of the brain is responsible for regulating the autonomic nervous system and generates feelings of fear or safety.

What happens if generalized anxiety disorder is left untreated? ›

For the majority of people with undiagnosed or untreated anxiety disorder, there are many negative consequences, for both the individual and society. These include disability, reduced ability to work leading to loss of productivity, and a high risk of suicide.

Is GAD the most common mental illness? ›

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is the most common anxiety disorder among older adults, though anxiety disorders in this population are frequently associated with traumatic events such as a fall or acute illness.

What foods calm anxiety? ›

Foods naturally rich in magnesium may, therefore, help a person to feel calmer. Examples include leafy greens, such as spinach and Swiss chard. Other sources include legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. Foods rich in zinc such as oysters, cashews, liver, beef, and egg yolks have been linked to lowered anxiety.

Can you suddenly get GAD? ›

GAD usually has a gradual onset, so you may not recognize the symptoms as they build up. GAD may fluctuate or change over time. If you have GAD, you may feel tense and worried more days than not.

Can you have GAD forever? ›

GAD is a long-term condition that causes you to feel anxious about a wide range of situations and issues, rather than 1 specific event. People with GAD feel anxious most days and often struggle to remember the last time they felt relaxed.

What disorder is most likely to accompany generalized anxiety disorder? ›

Generalized anxiety disorder often may be accompanied by other anxiety or unipolar depressive disorders, such as major depression, dysthymia, panic disorder, or social anxiety disorder.

Is generalized anxiety disorder worse than anxiety? ›

Although at times the anxiety that all people experience can be somewhat severe, a characteristic of GAD is that this anxiety is usually more intense and long-lasting. If you have more severe anxiety than most other people you know, then it may be more than "normal" anxiety.

At what point does anxiety become a disorder? ›

Anxiety becomes a disorder when it's irrational, excessive and when it interferes with a person's ability to function in daily life. Anxiety disorders include: Generalised anxiety disorder. Social phobias – fear of social situations.

Which person is most likely to be diagnosed with GAD? ›

GAD is relatively common disorder among children and adolescents. It begins gradually, often in childhood or adolescence, with symptoms that may worsen during times of stress. Worries may switch from one concern to another, and may change with time and age.

How does General anxiety feel like? ›

Symptoms can include a pounding heart, sweating, dizziness, nausea, or chest pain. You may think you're having a heart attack, dying, or losing your mind. It's one of the most treatable of all anxiety disorders.

What is the gold standard GAD treatment? ›

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)

The first-line treatment and gold standard for treating anxiety is CBT. CBT for GAD is a multimodal treatment, meaning that it includes various components that target the different symptoms of the condition — physical, cognitive, and behavioral.

What is the gold standard anxiety treatment? ›

CBT is an effective, gold-standard treatment for anxiety and stress-related disorders. CBT uses specific techniques to target unhelpful thoughts, feelings, and behaviors shown to generate and maintain anxiety.

Which drugs treat anxiety disorders most successfully? ›

SSRIs and SNRIs are often the first-line treatment for anxiety. Common SSRI brands are Celexa, Lexapro, Luvox, Paxil, and Zoloft. Common SNRI brands are Pristiq, Cymbalta, and Effexor XR. Pros: They are effective for a lot of people and they have a solid safety profile.

What should you not say with Generalized Anxiety Disorder? ›

10 Things Not To Say to Someone Who Has Anxiety
  • “Calm Down!” ...
  • “It's All in Your Head” ...
  • “It's Really not a Big Deal” ...
  • “Everything Will be Fine” ...
  • “I Know How You Feel” ...
  • “Have a Drink; You'll Feel Better” ...
  • “Other People are Suffering from Much Worse Conditions” ...
  • “You Should Try Meditation/Yoga/Veganism/etc”
Oct 16, 2018

What medications are FDA approved for GAD? ›

Escitalopram (Lexapro) and paroxetine (Paxil) are FDA approved to treat GAD. But any of the other SSRIs, like sertraline (Zoloft) and fluoxetine (Prozac), can be used off-label to treat GAD. All SSRIs work similarly, but may differ in their side effects and how long they last in the body.

What is the new anxiety treatment 2022? ›

MM-120. The FDA has approved a phase 2b study of an optimized form of LSD for the treatment of anxiety. The drug, called MM-120, is being developed by MindMed and is intended to treat generalized anxiety disorders and other mental conditions. MindMed is expected to begin clinical trials in 2022.

What is the second line treatment for generalized anxiety disorder? ›

Expert opinion: In adults with GAD, SSRIs and SNRIs represent the first-line psychopharmacologic treatment while second-line pharmacotherapies include buspirone, benzodiazepines, SGAs, and pregabalin.

Which is the most common drug class used to treat anxiety disorders? ›

The most common medications used to manage certain types of anxiety, including obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, and social phobia, are a class of antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs.

How is generalized anxiety disorder diagnosed? ›

Healthcare providers diagnose GAD when your worrying happens on most days and for at least 6 months. Worrying may be something you are so used to, you may think it's just "how you are." Common worries include your health, money, family, or work.

How do you get tested for anxiety? ›

To diagnose an anxiety disorder, a doctor performs a physical exam, asks about your symptoms, and recommends a blood test, which helps the doctor determine if another condition, such as hypothyroidism, may be causing your symptoms. The doctor may also ask about any medications you are taking.

Is anxiety a form of mental illness? ›

Anxiety disorders are the most common of mental disorders and affect nearly 30% of adults at some point in their lives. But anxiety disorders are treatable and a number of effective treatments are available. Treatment helps most people lead normal productive lives.

What are the warning signs of generalized anxiety disorder? ›

Symptoms of GAD include:
  • Feeling restless, wound-up, or on-edge.
  • Being easily fatigued.
  • Having difficulty concentrating.
  • Being irritable.
  • Having headaches, muscle aches, stomachaches, or unexplained pains.
  • Difficulty controlling feelings of worry.
  • Having sleep problems, such as difficulty falling or staying asleep.

What is most likely to be a concern to someone with generalized anxiety disorder? ›

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is characterized by persistent and excessive worry about a number of different things. People with GAD may anticipate disaster and may be overly concerned about money, health, family, work, or other issues. Individuals with GAD find it difficult to control their worry.


1. Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) - causes, symptoms & treatment
(Osmosis from Elsevier)
2. Generalized Anxiety Disorder | Diagnosis and Treatment
(JJ Medicine)
3. 6 Tips To Treat Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
(Uncommon Practitioners)
4. How to Diagnose and Treat Generalized Anxiety Disorder? - Insights from Dr Sanil Rege (Psychiatrist)
(Psychiatry Simplified - Dr Sanil Rege)
5. Guide to Generalized Anxiety Disorder
(Child Mind Institute)
6. Generalized Anxiety Disorder: The CBT Approach
(The Washington Center for Cognitive Therapy)
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