What Leading Medical Organizations Recommend When Treating Generalized Anxiety Disorder
WHAT TO TRY FIRST
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (the organization that provides the British government with independent evidence-based advice on drugs and treatment) recommends:
- For mild to moderate anxiety (with no red flags: no suicidal thoughts or actions, largely able to function): Therapy (cognitive behavioral) or active monitoring, regular exercise, and reduced alcohol and caffeine intake.
- For severe anxiety (with marked inability to function, thoughts of harming self or others): Intense therapy with or without an SSRI or SNRI antidepressant proven to treat anxiety. Anti-anxiety benzodiazepines (such as valium) may be useful initially until the antidepressant starts working.
WHAT ELSE TO TRY
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence recommends:
- For mild to moderate anxiety (with no red flags: no suicidal thoughts or actions, largely able to function): If no improvement after 2 weeks of active monitoring, consider more intense therapy and/or depression medications (SSRIs or SNRIs antidepressant proven to treat anxiety).
- For severe anxiety: If a depression medication has not been tried, consider starting one or trying another one if first one did not help enough.
Benzodiazepines (such as valium) are only recommended for short-term for patients in crisis.
National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (UK). Generalised anxiety disorder and panic disorder (with or without agoraphobia) in adults: Management in primary, secondary and community care. Published January 2011.