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Generalized anxiety disorder - self-care

GAD - self-care; Anxiety - self-care; Anxiety disorder - self-care

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Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is a mental condition in which you're frequently worried or anxious about many things. Your anxiety may seem out of control and get in the way of everyday activities.

The right treatment can often improve GAD. You and your health care provider should make a treatment plan that could include talk therapy (psychotherapy), taking medicine, or both.

Taking Medicine

Your provider may prescribe one or more medicines, including:

When taking medicine for GAD:


Talk therapy takes place with a trained therapist. It helps you learn ways of managing and reducing your anxiety. Some forms of talk therapy can help you understand what causes your anxiety. This allows you to gain better control over it.

Many types of talk therapy may be helpful for GAD. One common and effective talk therapy is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT can help you understand the relationship between your thoughts, your behaviors, and your symptoms. Often, CBT involves a set number of visits. During CBT you can learn how to:

Your provider can discuss talk therapy options with you. Then you can decide together if it is right for you.

Other Ways to Manage Your Anxiety

Taking medicine and going to talk therapy can get you started on the road to feeling better. Taking care of your body and relationships can help improve your condition. Here are some helpful tips:

When to Call the Doctor

Call your provider if you:


American Psychiatric Association. Anxiety disorders: what are anxiety disorders? Updated June 2021. Accessed July 30, 2021.

American Psychiatric Association. Generalized anxiety disorder. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. 5th ed. Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing; 2013:222-226.

Dattilo NC, Goddard AW. Generalized anxiety disorder. In: Kellerman RD, Rakel DP, eds. Conn's Current Therapy 2021. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier 2021: 816-819.

Glass SP, Pollack M H, Otto MW, Wittmann CW, Rosenbaum JF. Anxious patients. In: Stern TA, Freudenreich O, Smith FA, Fricchione GL, Rosenbaum JF, eds. Massachusetts General Hospital Handbook of General Hospital Psychiatry. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 13.

Lee R. Anxiety. In: Rakel D, ed. Integrative Medicine. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 6.

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Review Date: 5/14/2021  

Reviewed By: Fred K. Berger, MD, addiction and forensic psychiatrist, Scripps Memorial Hospital, La Jolla, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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