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Worry: How Much is Too Much?

Treatment

An important step in the treatment of any anxiety disorder is learning about and understanding the disorder. This gives the patient a certain amount of control over their symptoms and it also helps them realize that others have had similar experiences. It is also very important to be able to make informed decisions about treatment. There are a variety of treatment options available for GAD, and more are currently being researched.

Medication is sometimes indicated in the treatment of anxiety disorders and has been proven effective in reducing the symptoms of anxiety. It can be especially effective when there is more than one anxiety disorder or when there is comorbid depression, as is often the case with GAD. The alleviation of anxiety symptoms can allow the patient to move forward with psychosocial therapies, which can work well in combination with medication.

Several psychosocial techniques have been proven effective in the treatment of anxiety disorders. Various techniques, known collectively as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), have been shown to work well for GAD in particular, some of these techniques are: self-monitoring, cognitive therapy, and worry exposure.

Self-monitoring - the principle behind this technique is that the patient takes note of when he/she begins to feel anxious and records when and where the feelings began, their intensity and the symptoms. The goal is for the individual to become familiar with the patterns of his/her anxiety and worry.

Cognitive therapy - works to help the patient change his/her thought patterns. The goal here is the reappraisal of worry, leading the patient to think more realistically about his/her worry and negative thoughts. This includes changing thoughts that may actually promote worry, such as, "If I worry about it, it won't happen."

Worry exposure - requires that patients expose themselves to situations and ideas that worry them in order for them to both become used to the worry, and so that they can see that worrying and anxiety do not cause negative events.

With so many treatment options available, it is necessary that treatment be specially tailored to each individual. The best way to go about this is to see a mental health professional who specializes in the treatment of anxiety disorders.

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~ anxiety-panic library articles
~ all anxiety disorders articles

Last Updated: 04 July 2016
Reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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