Anxiety is characterized by excessive worry and feelings of anxiousness that are difficult to control, causing significant distress and impairment. Anxiety occurs commonly, most often with adult onset, and a chronic course. The effects of anxiety may lead to impairments in daily functioning and diminished quality of life. However, anxiety can be effectively treated with cognitive-behavioral therapy, medication, or a combination of both. The choice of treatment is individualized and is of shared decision making between the patient and provider. The main objective of treating anxiety is to reduce symptoms and improve daily functioning.
Some individuals may choose cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) as their management of choice. This is particularly useful in those who are concerned about the adverse effects of pharmacologic therapy. On the other hand, some individuals may be concerned about the availability or time commitment required for therapy and prefer initial treatment with pharmacotherapy. When choosing pharmacologic treatment, serotonergic reuptake inhibitors (SRIs) have been shown to be effective in treating symptoms of anxiety. The selection of which drug to choose is individualized and based on a variety of factors including medication side effects, drug to drug interactions, and patient preference. Other classes of medications may also be used as needed if the initial treatment of choice fails. Pharmacologic treatment is recommended for at least twelve months to prevent relapse or recurrence.
In addition to cognitive-behavioral therapy and pharmacotherapy, other treatment modalities such as exercise have also been recommended to help treat symptoms of anxiety. Stress reduction and yoga has been shown to reduce symptoms and improve daily functioning. Treatment of anxiety is individualized and may require different trials or combinations of treatment for different persons.
Craske, Michelle. (2021, November 12). Generalized anxiety disorder in adults: Management. UpToDate. Retrieved March 2, 2022
This article reviewed by Dr. Jim Liu, MD and Ms. Deb Dooley, APRN.
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