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 for general anxiety disorder (GAD) falls into 2 categories:
- Psychotherapy—This may include cognitive-behavioral therapy and other forms of treatment like relaxation techniques and biofeedback.
Psychotherapy can be as effective as medicine for GAD. It is usually the first treatment that is tried. Cognitive behavioral therapy has been shown to be effective for GAD. It is often more effective when used in combination with medicine.
The success of treatment varies from person to person. Some will feel better after only a few months of treatment, while with others it may take a year or more. Treatment can be complicated by other mental health issues that may be present.
Treatment involves the following:
Anxiety disorders. National Institute of Mental Health website. Available at: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/anxiety-disorders/index.shtml. Accessed January 13, 2020.
Chessick C, Allen M, et al. Azapirones for generalized anxiety. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2006;(3):CD006115.
Generalized anxiety disorder. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:https://www.dynamed.com/condition/generalized-anxiety-disorder. Accessed January 13, 2020.
Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Anxiety and Depression Association of America website. Available at: https://www.adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/generalized-anxiety-disorder-gad. Accessed January 13, 2020.
Hunot V, Churchill R, et al. Psychological therapies for generalised anxiety disorder. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2007;(1):CD001848.
Last reviewed May 2020 by Adrian Preda, MD Last Updated: 7/29/2020