4 Proven Treatments for Generalized Anxiety Disorder

treatment for generalized anxiety disorder

4 Proven Treatments for Generalized Anxiety Disorder

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), “anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults (19.1% of the population) age 18 and older every year.”[1]

People might suffer from several types of anxiety disorders, but generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is one of the most common. People who struggle with this condition suffer from persistent and excessive worry about various things.

The worrying associated with a generalized anxiety disorder is not the same as being concerned about specific stressors. Oftentimes this disorder causes people to be overly concerned about particular events or become worried and anxious when there is no apparent reason for concern. 

Generalized anxiety disorder can make it difficult for you to function properly in your daily life, especially without treatment. Anxiety disorders are typically treated with a combination of medications and comprehensive therapy. Four proven treatments for generalized anxiety disorder are:

1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

One of the most common forms of treatment for generalized anxiety disorder is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT includes several modalities that aim to target the physical, cognitive, and behavioral symptoms of this condition. CBT is a multifaceted approach that can help you learn to manage every aspect of generalized anxiety disorder.

The goals of CBT include learning how to replace negative thought patterns with positive ones and changing how you behave in response to triggers. This is highly beneficial if you struggle with anxiety, as persistent worrying often stems from cognitive distortions that cause you to only see the negative in any situation. 

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), “CBT is a highly effective treatment for anxiety disorders that offers many benefits, including being time-limited, goal-oriented, active, and collaborative. The effectiveness of CBT has been extensively researched, and it has been shown to be as effective as medication in treating anxiety disorders.”[2]

2. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

The second most common treatment for generalized anxiety disorder is acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT). ACT teaches you how to accept your thoughts rather than avoiding them or changing them. This approach can help you accept that your anxiety is valid without allowing it to take over your life or prevent you from completing daily tasks. 

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), “Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) for anxiety disorders is an innovative acceptance-based behavior therapy that focuses on decreasing the behavior regulatory function of anxiety and related cognitions, and has a strong focus on behavior change that is consistent with client values.”[3]

3. Holistic Treatments

Some people respond better to holistic treatments and lifestyle changes than therapy. Holistic treatments are described as techniques that treat the whole person: mind, body, and spirit.[4]

Examples of holistic treatments that assist in managing the symptoms of anxiety include:[5]

  • Breathing exercises
  • Meditation and mindfulness
  • Exercise 
  • Journaling 
  • Art and music therapy 
  • Nutrition-based supplements 
  • Nature-based therapy
  • Aromatherapy 

4. Medications 

Lastly, a variety of medications may be used to assist in managing the symptoms of generalized anxiety disorders. It is important to note that medications should only be used under the direction of a doctor and in combination with evidence-based therapies or holistic treatments. Medication only soothes symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder, rather than helping you learn how to manage them. 

Types of medications proven to treat anxiety include:[6]

  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
  • Selective serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)
  • Atypical antidepressants 
  • Tricyclic antidepressants
  • Multimodal antidepressants 
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Non-benzodiazepine hypnotics 
  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors 
  • Azapirones 
  • Antihistamines 
  • Second-generation antipsychotics 

Finding the right medication for you can be difficult, which is why it is important to continue attending therapy while you are looking for one that helps you manage your symptoms effectively. 

It is important to note that while benzodiazepines can be effective in managing anxiety, they can be highly addictive. As a result, it is best to try other medications before turning to benzodiazepines to treat your anxiety.

Finding Help for Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

If you or a loved one suffer from a generalized anxiety disorder, you understand how difficult it can be to cope. Attending a professional mental health treatment program can provide you with the treatment, support, and tools you need to manage your condition effectively.

At Florida Recovery Group, we use individualized treatment plans to provide each patient with the type of treatment that will meet their specific needs. To learn more about our generalized anxiety disorder treatment program, contact us today. 


  1. https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/facts-statistics
  2. https://namimt.org/the-benefits-of-cognitive-behavioral-therapy-for-anxiety/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4537636/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1273970/
  5. https://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/what-holistic-therapies-and-practices-help-anxiety-and-depression
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6340395/