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CNS Spectr. 2005 Jan;10(1):49-56.

Overview of diagnosis and drug treatments of anxiety disorders.

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Psychopharmacology Unit, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK.


Anxiety disorders are common and often disabling. They fall into five main categories: panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and posttraumatic stress disorder, each of which have characteristic symptoms and cognitions. All anxiety disorders respond to drugs and psychological treatments. This review will focus on drug treatments. Recent research has emphasized the value of antidepressants especially the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, benzodiazepines, and related sedative-like compounds. The common co-existence of depression with all of the anxiety disorders means that the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are now generally considered to be the first-line treatments but the benzodiazepines have some utility especially in promoting sleep and working acutely to reduce extreme distress.

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