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Long term therapy of generalized anxiety disorder

Elsevier SAS
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/j.eurpsy.2004.01.001
  • Gad
  • Pharmacotherapy
  • Psychosocial Treatment
  • Long Term
  • Design
  • Medicine


Abstract Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is a common (lifetime prevalence: 5.1%), recurrent condition, which often heralds other psychiatric disorders, notably depression. As by definition it is a disorder progressing over months, treatment should be designed on a long term basis. And yet, few studies have been conducted beyond the classical 6–8 weeks characterizing the acute treatment phase. This is especially true of anxiolytics, but also of antidepressants, with the exception of paroxetine and venlafaxine, which are the only drugs approved in this indication in Western countries. The efficacy of psychotherapy, notably relaxation and cognitive-behavioral therapy, is established in the treatment of GAD, but its preferred indications and possible combination with antidepressants are still to be specified. Long term, not to say very long term studies of GAD, as well as depression, will still be required in the future to improve its management and specify therapeutic modalities (combination treatment, optimal duration, continuous or intermittent therapy, choice of psychotherapeutic techniques or agents, …). Early and adequately prolonged treatment should not only result in more numerous remission periods, but also in decreased frequency of co-morbidities whether depressive, addictive, or of another nature, and should also reduce the social impact of GAD.

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