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Treatment of anxiety disorders

Borwin Bandelow, Sophie Michaelis, Dirk Wedekind
Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience 2017, 19 (2): 93-107
28867934
Anxiety disorders (generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder/agoraphobia, social anxiety disorder, and others) are the most prevalent psychiatric disorders, and are associated with a high burden of illness. Anxiety disorders are often underrecognized and undertreated in primary care. Treatment is indicated when a patient shows marked distress or suffers from complications resulting from the disorder. The treatment recommendations given in this article are based on guidelines, meta-analyses, and systematic reviews of randomized controlled studies. Anxiety disorders should be treated with psychological therapy, pharmacotherapy, or a combination of both. Cognitive behavioral therapy can be regarded as the psychotherapy with the highest level of evidence. First-line drugs are the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors. Benzodiazepines are not recommended for routine use. Other treatment options include pregabalin, tricyclic antidepressants, buspirone, moclobemide, and others. After remission, medications should be continued for 6 to 12 months. When developing a treatment plan, efficacy, adverse effects, interactions, costs, and the preference of the patient should be considered.

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