Other Treatments for Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

Counseling

Counseling is part of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) care plan. Therapy will help you learn ways to reduce anxiety and stress in your daily life. There are different types of therapy. Work with your care team to find which may work best for you.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) works to change patterns of thinking. You will work to realize what is causing anxiety and learn how to change your reaction to it. The goal is to decrease the symptoms of anxiety. Therapy may include:

  • Changing negative thought patterns and improving self-esteem.
  • Keeping track of thoughts and feelings every day. Looking for things that cause anxiety.
  • Plans to address the issues.
  • Learn new coping skills and habits. These skills will be useful for a lifetime.

Psychodynamic Therapy

This is a type of talk therapy. You are encouraged to talk about anything that comes to mind in sessions. The goal is to better understand negative feelings. It may also uncover buried emotions. It may show how these emotions affect daily life. The goal is to help ease symptoms and improve daily life.

Mindfulness Meditation

Meditation can help to slow racing thoughts and calm mind and body. Regular practice may ease tension. It may also be used during events that cause anxiety to ease reaction.

Relaxation Therapy

This is another set of tools that can help to ease tension and slow racing thoughts. Steps may include deep breathing, muscle relaxation, and visualization. They can help to gain control over anxiety. It takes some practice to use the tools. They can then be available whenever anxiety strikes.

Acceptance-Based therapy

The therapist will encourage you to stop avoiding or denying intense emotions. The next step is to accept these emotions as appropriate. It can ease problems these emotions cause in day to day life. This therapy is a way to accept issues and challenges and commit to changes.

Other Treatments

Exercise

Regular physical activity may help to reduce anxiety. Examples include brisk walking, swimming, yoga, and strength training. Choose activities that are easily available to prevent adding stress.

Be Aware of Stimulants

Caffeine, street drugs like cocaine, or some herbs can make symptoms worse.

References:

Anxiety Treatment. Anxiety and Depression Association of America website. Available at: https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/generalized-anxiety-disorder-gad/treatments. Accessed May 8, 2020.
DeMartini J, Patel G, Fancher TL. Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Ann Intern Med. 2019 Apr 2;170(7):ITC49-ITC64.
Generalized anxiety disorder. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/generalized-anxiety-disorder/. Accessed May 8, 2020.
Locke AB, Kirst N, Shultz CG. Diagnosis and management of generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder in adults. Am Fam Physician. 2015 May 1;91(9):617-24
Last reviewed May 2020 by Adrian Preda, MD
Last Updated: 7/29/2020

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