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Refractory Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Mark H. Pollack, MD

Published: April 15, 2009

Article Abstract

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) has a lifetime prevalence in the US population of about 5.7%. Typically, GAD begins in early adulthood and tends to have a chronic and persistent course. The disorder frequently presents comorbidly with other conditions, and about 90% of patients with GAD have at least 1 comorbid lifetime psychiatric disorder. Patients with GAD tend to be high users of medical services; the disorder is associated with significant physical as well as psychological symptomatology and impacts health, family relationships, and employment. Pharmacologic and psychosocial treatments are available for GAD. Different side effect profiles, speed of onset of action, and discontinuation requirements of individual drugs need to be taken into account when selecting treatment. Treatment selection should include consideration of comorbidity, psychological function, social impairment, and refractoriness, as well as the need for ongoing intervention for many individuals. Innovative treatments, including anticonvulsants, atypical antipsychotics, and others, as well as treatment targeting concomitant insomnia, may help improve outcomes for affected individuals.

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Volume: 11

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