Management of generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) includes medications and psychological treatments. You can receive most treatments from a healthcare professional in primary care. If you also have depression or another type of anxiety disorder such as post-traumatic stress disorder or obsessive-compulsive disorder, they should discuss with you which illness would be best dealt with first.
Sometimes, GAD may resolve by itself without any treatment, after advice from and discussions with your healthcare professional. If you have issues with drugs or alcohol, they may offer treatment for your particular problem initially. Often, GAD resolves after a drug or alcohol problem is managed.
Initially, the healthcare professionals should provide one, which you can either do by yourself (self-help) or a course with others. These treatments help you realise your symptoms and improve methods of coping with them. Self-help includes working from a guideline or a computer programme for five to fourteen weeks. They should provide guidance regarding how to use the guideline or programme before you begin. Some kinds of self-help programmes include hardly any contact with a healthcare professional; other programmes include meeting with or discussing on the phone with a healthcare professional for a limited time every week or fortnight.
If you select a course with others, you will have meetings weekly for about six weeks. They may also provide a self-help guideline to work through.
If your symptoms of GAD are severe, or getting worse, or the initial management has not helped you, they should provide psychological treatment or medication.
- Depression – A common mental health condition, the primary symptoms of which are losing enjoyment in things that were once enjoyable and losing interest in daily routines and other people.
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder – A kind of anxiety disorder in which a person has feelings, images, or impulses that keep coming into their mind and are difficult to eliminate (known as obsessions) and a strong feeling that they must perform or repeat particular physical acts or mental processes (known as compulsions).
- Post-traumatic stress disorder – A kind of anxiety disorder, which can sometimes follow a threatening or traumatic event.
- Primary care – A part of the healthcare service, which includes general practitioners (GPs), nurses and mental health teams such as mental health workers, mental health practitioners, and psychologists.
(Photo courtesy: Alyssa L. Miller)