A recent clinical study overview found that cognitive-behavioral therapy may be best for those suffering with generalized anxiety disorder, or GAD.

Generalized anxiety disorder is an anxiety disorder in which the sufferer worries on almost a constant basis about almost everything. An individual with GAD may worry needlessly abouthealth, work, home, school, children, the state of world affairs, or simply what will happen next. While some forms of anxiety, such as social anxiety disorder or post-traumatic stress disorder, are more localized to specific fear-inducing situations, those with generalized anxiety disorder might suffer with unwarranted worry about any and everything to varying degrees of severity.

This review of studies was recently published in The Cochrane Library and looks at the results of 25 studies with over 13,000 participants. Across the studies, reviewers found that 46% of those with GAD showed marked improvement in anxiety symptomsafter being treated with cognitive-behavioral therapy. Those who either received no treatment or a more traditional medical intervention combining medication with some other form ofpsychotherapy showed only a 14% improvement overall.

The study review also looked at the difference between those treated with cognitive-behavioral therapy and those who received some other form of psychotherapy. Again, CBT showed the most improvement in anxiety symptoms.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a specific form of psychotherapy that teaches patients about their thought processes and how to adopt newer, healthier ways of viewing their situations. It also utilizes behavior modification to help patients to react in healthier ways, improving the outcomes of anxiety-inducing circumstances. Cognitive-behavioral therapy differs from other forms of psychotherapy because it focuses on taking action rather than simply exploring the reasons behind anxiety. The patient is responsible for their own thoughts and behaviors, and, eventually, they realize that changing their thoughts and behaviors changes their emotional reactions to life—including their generalized anxiety.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy has been shown so effective as a treatment for generalized anxiety disorder that it is listed as the main therapeutic intervention on the National Institute of Mental Health’s website. This clinical trial review points in the possible direction of future GAD treatment exploration and may lead to even more effective therapeutic interventions.

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