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What our patients want and need to know about generalized anxiety disorder?

Persons with generalized anxiety disorder often do not seek treatment, and if they do, it is more often for the somatic symptoms (muscle tension, insomnia) or for a secondary depression than because of the cardinal feature of generalized anxiety disorder: worry. The worry aspect becomes apparent when the patient is proposed to try anxiolytic medication. The physician will then need to be prepared to answer many questions regarding the potential hazards and benefits of such medication. These patients tend to have a sceptical attitude, having informed themselves on websites that display claims that are based on anything from evidence-based scientific guidelines to distorted, erroneous and unfounded allegations. Which are the frequent questions that worried patients pose to the physician before accepting anxiolytic pharmacotherapy? Having seen anxious patients in my practice during 25 years, and having conducted several clinical trials of anxiolytics I have put together evidence-based answers in plain language to these questions in this paper.

Anxiety disorders; Social isolation; Evaluation of results of therapeutic interventions; Drug therapy; Psychotherapy

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