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Generalized Anxiety Disorder Treatments

(Also Known As: Panic Attack Treatments, Chronic Anxiety Treatments, Anxiety Disorder Treatments, Severe Anxiety Disorder Anxiety Treatments)

(Reviewed by: Paul Peterson, Licensed Therapist)

What Kinds of Generalized Anxiety Disorder Treatments are Available?

In order to provide the best Treatment for Generalized Anxiety Disorder the person suffering from anxiety attacks needs to ensure that they are clinically diagnosed with the condition accurately, while identifying other possible associated psychological disorders and medical conditions that may have triggered and can potentially aggrieve the condition. The best Generalized Anxiety Disorder Treatment consists of the combination of psychological and psychopharmacologic approaches.8 There are different treatment approaches to help relieve the symptoms and distressing consequences of chronic anxiety which include the following:

PSYCHOTHERAPY

The treatment approach for Generalized Anxiety Disorder through psychotherapy is one oriented towards combating the low level and unrelenting anxiety attack of the person. Such occurrence leads to the person’s poor planning skills, difficulty in relaxing, and high level of stress.

  • Dynamic psychotherapy helps the individual to explore the different possible causes of their anxiety and what they mean to them. The therapist usually works a number of exercises with the patient that includes stress evaluation.
  • Behavior therapy is an approach that establishes coping strategies to help relieve anxiety attacks. Oftentimes the approach of behavioral and cognitive therapy overlap since a new behavior is possible for the person to acquire by replacing their irrational thoughts with healthy ones. The common methods employed include:
    • Biofeedback
    • Meditation
    • Controlled exposure to situations that cause stress
    • Learning relaxation techniques
    • Hypnotherapy

COGNITIVE BEHAVIORAL THERAPY

This Generalized Anxiety Disorder Treatment approach helps a person with Generalized Anxiety Disorder to examine and identify the negative thoughts that contribute to their anxiety attack. There are five key components in cognitive behavioral treatment approach: 9

  • Education – helps in distinguishing between helpful and unhelpful worry. Also involves understanding of the anxiety while learning a more accepting and proactive response to it.
  • Physical control strategies – consist of deep breathing techniques and muscle relaxation to decrease the overall physical arousal effect of anxiety.
  • Monitoring – consists of learning anxiety monitoring and the factors that trigger its occurrence, the length and severity of the particular episode to help a person track down their progress.
  • Behavioral strategies – help one to learn how to deal with the causes of anxiety instead of being afraid of it. Being able to focus on their fears they are able to learn how to be in control and become less anxious. It also helps a person with Generalized Anxiety Disorder to learn how to establish better time management and problem solving skills.
  • Cognitive control strategies – the patient learns how to evaluate a situation realistically to alter their abnormal thinking pattern that increases the anxiety attack.

PHARMACOLOGICAL TREATMENT

There are 4 identified groups of drugs that are prescribed for Treating Generalized Anxiety Disorder:

Buspirone

  • This is considered to be the safest drug for Generalized Anxiety Disorder.
  • The drug has significant attributes that do not interact with alcohol, with few or no withdrawal symptoms, reduced sedative effects, it lacks muscle relaxant muscular effect, and works effectively for 3 to 6 weeks.
  • It provides a short term relief from the following anxiety symptoms:
    • Agitation/excitement
    • Confusion
    • Drowsiness
    • Dizziness
    • Nausea
    • Headache
    • Fatigue
    • Nervousness

Antidepressants

  • Venlafaxin HCl and Paroxetine are the only drugs of this group indicated for Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Other antidepressant drugs are believed to exacerbate sleeping problems and cause nausea.
  • The relief provided to the patient however is not immediate and takes up to 6 weeks to feel its full effect.

Benzodiazepines

  • Among the drugs indicated for General Anxiety Disorder Treatment from this group include Clonazepam, Alprazolam, Chlordiazepoxide, Diazepam and Lorazepam
  • The drugs have a fast acting effect, within 30 minutes to an hour, and the rapid relief provides major benefits to the person with GAD, but its drawback involves physical and psychological dependence of more than a week use.
  • Due to the adverse effects of prolonged use of this group of drugs, it is only recommended for paralyzing and severe episodes of anxiety attacks.

Beta Blockers

  • Psychiatrists prescribe this group of drugs due to its capacity of reducing the physical symptoms of anxiety such as sweating, nervous tension, shakiness, and high blood pressure. Beta blockers are not the first line of treatment for chronic anxiety though.
  • Some of the identified side effects include confusion, body ache, dry eyes, depression, impotence, insomnia, memory loss, low blood pressure, rash, nausea, and vomiting. These drugs are also contraindicated to nursing mothers and may cause kidney and liver problems.

Could You Have Generalized Anxiety Disorder?

Generalized Anxiety Disorder Topics

Related Conditions

Panic Disorder – Panic Attack, Anxiety, Anticipatory Attacks
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – Nightmares, Insomnia, Sexual Abuse, Irritation, Social Impairment, Problems with Memory and Concentration, Intrusive Memories, Hyper-Vigilance
Social Anxiety Disorder – Social Anxiety, Impaired Functional Ability, Chronic Fear of Being Humiliated in Public, Panic Attack