Seeking Treatment for Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Seeking treatment for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) isn’t always easy. People who struggle with this condition may experience the following thoughts or statements from friends and family:

“You worry too much.” 

“You worry over the smallest things.”

“Just relax.”

“You are so testy and irritable lately.”

Everyone has moments of worry, which can motivate them to complete something. For example, your boss will give you a bonus if you complete the project by a specific date. You don’t want to miss out on the bonus. You feel nervous and worried, which motivates you to complete the project.

For some, worry plays a much more significant role in their daily lives. They don’t necessarily worry over one specific thing but about everything, or so it seems. They likely have a generalized anxiety disorder.

What is GAD?

Generalized anxiety disorder is a constant feeling of dread, doom, or nervousness about things that usually aren’t a threat. When something is a threat, worry is a good thing. It can help you get out of a bad situation. GAD, however, is persistent and can interfere with your life.

A person with GAD may worry about money even though they have huge savings and no debt. They may worry about a loved one having an accident while driving or failing a test they haven’t taken yet. Their worrying seems like a lack of faith and distrust in everyone and everything.

If someone has ever had a panic attack, the thought of having another one is frightening, and they worry about it constantly. Worrying can get out of control and make you feel overwhelmed and unable to face the day.

Symptoms of GAD

Generalized anxiety disorder can affect anyone at any age. Symptoms may include one or many of the following:

  • Excessive worrying
  • Unable to control worrying
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Easily startled
  • Irritable mood
  • Unable to relax
  • Fidgety and restless
  • Can’t let go of certain things
  • Overthinking or overanalyzing

There are physical symptoms, also, like the following:

  • Dry mouth
  • Sweating
  • Trembling
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Fatigue
  • Frequent bathroom trips

Diagnosis Criteria for GAD

The American Psychiatric Association created the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) to help professionals diagnose people with mental health symptoms. Three criteria exist:

  1. Excessive worry and anxiety about various topics, events, or situations that last for six months or longer.
  2. Worrying is hard to control and can shift from topic to topic.
  3. At least three of the following symptoms occur alongside worry and anxiety:
    1. Edginess or restlessness
    2. Feeling more tired than usual
    3. Trouble concentrating or staying focused
    4. Feeling irritable
    5. Body aches, pains, or soreness
    6. Difficulty sleeping

The DSM criteria are not the only way to diagnose someone with generalized anxiety disorder. A mental health professional will also look at bloodwork and complete a thorough assessment of your physical and psychological health. They will create a treatment plan based on the results that suit your needs.

Treatment for Generalized Anxiety Disorder

There typically isn’t just one type of treatment for generalized anxiety disorder. Most people require a combination of therapies to overcome their symptoms. Below are treatments for GAD that, when combined, offer outstanding results:


Medicines are great to use at the beginning of treatment when you need stabilization. They help your mind relax so you can focus and learn new coping skills. Not everyone needs medication, and you do not have to take it for the rest of your life.

Anti-Anxiety Medications

Anti-anxiety medications are actually anti-depressants that work on the same brain chemicals associated with mood. They are known as Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) and Selective Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs). Both types boost the levels of serotonin and norepinephrine to increase happiness and decrease anxiety. These medicines are taken daily and start to work after about a week.

Other Medication Options

Other medications are taken as needed due to their sedative-like effects. Many use them to calm down from a more severe episode. Buspirone and benzodiazepines are the most often prescribed. They work almost immediately but only last a few hours.

Psychiatrists can prescribe medications, which are best when used with psychotherapy.


Licensed mental health professionals lead psychotherapy. Many types of psychotherapy exist, but cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is the most successful. CBT is based on the theory that thoughts influence feelings and behaviors. If you think there is something to worry about, you will start to feel anxious, and then your behaviors will reflect your anxiety.

Just the opposite may be true also. If you learn to recognize and replace negative thoughts, you will feel less anxious and more confident, and your behaviors will show it.

Mindfulness techniques complement CBT and other therapies. It teaches you to be present and aware of what is happening rather than forecasting what will happen. You learn to listen to your body and respond by giving it what it needs to be successful.

Alternative therapies help heal the whole self, which is needed for complete recovery from an anxiety disorder. This means treating any other physical or mental conditions that have the potential to trigger anxiety in the future. Here are some examples of alternative therapies:

  • Yoga
  • Stress management
  • Meditation or prayer
  • Acupuncture
  • Art therapy
  • Music therapy
  • Equine therapy
  • Nutrition and fitness therapy

Finding a Treatment Provider

Rather than googling “help for anxiety near me,” take some time to research your local options. Google is a great way to start your research but be more specific. For example, google “The Mental Health Center” and look at their reviews. Look at their website to see if their staff are qualified. Read their blogs on anxiety.

You can also join local mental health groups on social media or schedule a video call with the treatment center. Calling and asking questions is always a good idea. The right agency will welcome questions because they want to ensure you get the right treatment, even if they do not provide it.

Psychiatrist for Anxiety in Los Angeles

Looking for anxiety treatment in Los Angeles?

Start your research today and get on your way to eliminating and finding treatment for generalized anxiety disorder. Don’t wait, give us a call now.