Psychotherapeutic treatments for generalized anxiety disorder: cognitive and behavioral therapies, enhancement strategies, and emerging efforts

Michelle G. Newman, Candice Basterfield, Thane M. Erickson, Evan Caulley, Amy Przeworski, Sandra J. Llera

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Introduction: Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is common and disabling. Different versions of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) have been tested, but no treatment works for everyone. Therefore, researchers have attempted approaches to enhance CBT. Areas covered: The current narrative review examines meta-analyses and individual trials of CBT-based treatments for GAD. We focus on CBT and its cognitive and behavioral components as well as efforts to enhance CBT and its dissemination and generalizability. Enhancement efforts included interpersonal and emotional processing therapy, mindfulness-based CBT, emotion regulation therapy, intolerance of uncertainty therapy, the unified protocol, metacognitive therapy, motivational interviewing, and contrast avoidance targeted treatment. Emerging strategies to enhance dissemination have focused on technologically based treatments. Attempts at generalizability have included examination of efficacy within diverse racial and ethnic groups. Expert opinion: We conclude that CBT is efficacious, and a number of enhancement efforts have shown some promise in improving upon CBT in single trials. However, more research is needed, particularly efforts to determine which enhancements work best for which individuals and what are the mechanisms of change. Furthermore, few technological interventions have been compared to active treatments. Finally, much more attention needs to be paid to ethnic and racial diversity in randomized controlled trials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)751-770
Number of pages20
JournalExpert Review of Neurotherapeutics
Volume22
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Neuroscience
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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