Treatment for general anxiety disorder (GAD) falls into 2 categories:
Since psychotherapy can be as effective as medicine, 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 medicine 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.
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Last reviewed December 2016 by Adrian Preda, MD Last Updated: 10/9/2019