Cognitive psychotherapy focuses on reducing the tendency toward catastrophization that underlies much of the worrying in Generalized Anxiety Disorder. You are taught to identify the exaggerations and distortions that feed your worries and to substitute more rational and realistic alternatives.
The first step is to identify your “end of the world”, “the sky is falling” kind of thinking. “Just because my husband is ten minutes late from work does not mean he has been killed in a care accident, it is just my tendency to make a mountain out of a molehill working overtime.”
Many individuals worry excessively because they experience themselves as passively helpless creatures in a hostile world where everything that possibly can go wrong will go wrong. Assertiveness training can help to build a sense of self confidence, mastery, and control. “Certainly some things will always go wrong, that is to expected, but it is no big deal and I’ll handle it when it happens.”
Buspar is the only medication approved by the FDA for the treatment of Generalized Anxiety Disorder. It has the virtues of not being addicting, having minimal side effects, and not causing withdrawal symptoms, but some psychiatrist have found its effectiveness to be sometimes disappointing. Other anti anxiety medicines like Valium, Xanax, Ativan, or Klonopin are very often effective in the short term, but often lose their effectiveness over the long term.
Psychotherapy and/or Buspar are much safer bets given the persistent nature of this condition and the fact that medication may be needed for the long haul. Many people who appear to have Generalized Anxiety Disorder also suffer from depression.
For many of these people, antidepressant medication will treat not just the depression but the anxiety symptoms as well. Therefore, if you have any symptoms of depression, even if it seems as though you are depressed because of your anxiety problems, it may make sense for your doctor to prescribe an antidepressant medication for you first.