Cognitive-behavior therapy for generalized anxiety disorder

A. G. Harvey, R. M. Rapee*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    13 Citations (Scopus)


    Overall, cognitive-behavior therapy shows promise as a treatment for GAD. The modest treatment gains reported to date may be in part due to the characterologic nature of GAD and the high rate of comorbidity. An important trend emerging in studies that provide long-term outcome data, however, is the substantial reduction in the use of anxiolytic medication in treated subjects. As a result, Brown et al have suggested that such cognitive- behavior therapy may offer an approach for discontinuing these medications in patients with GAD. Because the benefits of cognitive-behavioral treatment appear to be maintained at long-term follow-up assessment, cognitive-behavior therapy may provide a long-term and cost-effective solution to GAD. The maintenance of treatment gains following a relatively short period of intervention (5-20 sessions) is particularly impressive given that the GAD population is characterized by individuals who say that they have 'always been worriers' and who previously have been very difficult to treat. Future research is required to explore the specific effects that 'nonspecific' methods offer. In addition, because some studies (e.g., Barlow et al) reported that dropouts in treatment were high and that many patients were left with some residual anxiety, there is clearly still a need for further research to find more focused and successful treatments.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)859-870
    Number of pages12
    JournalPsychiatric Clinics of North America
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 1995


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