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GAD: Available Treatments for Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Just like other anxiety problems, generalized anxiety disorder or GAD can be treated through various approaches.

All of them can be equally effective and may be combined for faster recovery.  In fact, it’s now very common to incorporate both psychopharmacologic and psychological approaches when treating this condition.  In this article, let’s learn more about these methods.

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Psychotherapy

The focus of psychotherapy for people with generalized anxiety is combating their ever-present anxiety.  Although the anxiousness may be relatively at a low level, it is typically accompanied by high stress levels, poor planning skills, and difficulty in relaxing. The therapist can be very helpful with these issues especially the last one.

Relaxation techniques may be taught alone or by using biofeedback. On his or her own, the patient is taught to relax by performing some exercises such as breathing and meditation.  On the other hand, the use of biofeedback (the ability to let the person see or hear feedback of his or her body’s physiological state) can be effective too, but is not always necessary.

Patients who master the skills of relaxation can go on a generally anxiety-free life after the treatment is complete. However, one thing you should bear in mind is that you can never learn the skill well unless you practice it constantly even outside therapy sessions.

Medications

General anxiety disorder may also be treated by using medications. For those who have serious symptoms of anxiety, drugs can be very helpful in order to function normally through the day.  It can also help facilitate better psychotherapy. After all, how can someone learn the skill of relaxation when all his or her anxiety symptoms are present?

The most popularly used anti-anxiety medication is benzodiazepine. Diazepam (valium) and lorazepam (Ativan) are both under this drug classification – the latter yields longer sedating effect though.

Tricyclic antidepressants are also used for generalized anxiety and can be a better choice when the treatment period is expected to take longer.

Anyway, before taking any medication, it is important to learn about any possible side effects especially when it can impair performance.

Self-Help

It may be surprising to read that self-help techniques are advised for people with generalized anxiety disorder. Will they work? Actually, yes. There are now a lot of support groups available in the communities which are willing to help people with the disorder. The members of these groups share common feelings and experiences which make healing faster. After all, the knowledge that you are not alone can already offer significant relief.

However, one should not push him or herself into a group when he or she feels like he or she can’t handle it yet. It is important to first feel prepared in handling a social group interaction.Otherwise, the method may be counterproductive.

These are the available treatment methods for generalized anxiety disorder. After understanding what GAD is, the next crucial step is to start with an effective cure that will help the person recover from the disorder. Although it can’t disappear overnight, the disorder is treatable.

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