Treatment for general anxiety disorder (GAD) falls into two categories:

Since psychotherapy is more effective than medication, it is usually the first treatment that is tried. Researchers have found that cognitive behavioral therapy is effective in treating GAD. Medications have shown to work better than placebo. Most patients benefit from a combination of therapies. More research, though, needs to be done for the other forms of therapy.

Although medical care can help most people with GAD, treatment success varies from person to person. Some experience an improvement after only a few months of treatment, while with others it may take a year or more. Treatment can be complicated by having another condition at the same time, such as substance abuse, depression, or other anxiety disorders.

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 involves the following:

Currently, surgical procedures are not a treatment option for GAD.