Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Advanced Therapeutic Solutions for Anxiety provides therapy for the treatment of Generalized Anxiety Disorder.

Excessive anxiety and worry that is out of proportion to what would be expected is the hallmark of generalized anxiety disorder. Individuals with generalized anxiety disorder worry daily or almost daily. Their worries are about more than one situation, event, or activity (e.g., work/school performance worries, health, finances, being on time, being competent, the future, etc.) and can shift from one concern to another. 

The median age of onset for generalized anxiety disorder is 30 years. Prevalence for the disorder peaks in middle age, then declines in later years. The prevalence in adolescents is 0.9% (1 of 111) and in adults, it’s 2.9% (1 of 35). The onset of generalized anxiety disorder rarely occurs before adolescence.

Adults with generalized anxiety disorder tend to worry excessively about everyday responsibilities, such as work performance, finances, managing household duties, health, family’s health, children’s safety, etc. Minor events are also worrisome, such as laundry not being done or being late to an appointment. Because they usually are eager to do well, not being able to focus on their responsibilities creates more worry, and a snowball effect can occur. If they’re not getting their work done, and feel overwhelmed, they may show avoidance of doing the tasks. Their worry may interfere with their focus, their mind can go blank, and they can forget what they were going to say at an important meeting or forget about an important appointment. Because their values (doing well) do not match their performance (falling behind, getting disorganized, forgetting important appointments), they can feel restless and on edge.  

Individuals with generalized anxiety disorder can have these associated symptoms:

  • Restlessness, feeling keyed up, on edge
  • Being easily fatigued
  • Difficulty concentrating or mind going blank
  • Irritability
  • Muscle tension
  • Sleep disturbance (difficulty falling or staying asleep, restless sleep, unsatisfying sleep)

Unlike generalized anxiety disorder, the worry that comes with everyday life does not include a great range of situations, does not last a long duration, is not excessive, can be put off when more pressing issues arise,, and does not have the physical symptoms experienced by those with generalized anxiety disorder. The worries of a person with generalized anxiety disorder are more pervasive, pronounced, and physically distressing. 

An individual with generalized anxiety has difficulty with focus and getting tasks done efficiently at home or work. The excessive worry takes over. Loved ones may hope to calm their family member by providing reassurance, but the reassurance feeds the anxiety. Because generalized anxiety disorder greatly impairs a person’s focus, concentration, and ability to work efficiently, a key component in treatment is mindfulness strategies that are used in therapy to help the individual learn to focus their awareness on the present moment. Behavioral interventions are also used to reduce the safety-seeking behaviors (e.g., reassurance) that interfere with learning. Therefore, acceptance-based behavioral therapy is the evidence-based treatment for generalized anxiety disorder.

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Clinical Procedures for Generalized Anxiety Disorder Evaluation and Outpatient Treatment

Free Phone Intake Consultation

Up to 30-min phone consultation so we can hear about your presenting issue, the symptoms you are experiencing, when they started, the severity of symptoms, and if we are the appropriate place for your treatment. The diagnostic intake process is discussed, and your insurance/billing questions are answered. If the treatment you need is within our scope of services, we begin the scheduling process. If it is deemed that we are not the appropriate place, we will provide you with referrals and resources to help you. We want to make sure to connect you with services, and that includes helping you find treatment elsewhere if that's what you need.



Diagnostic Evaluation

A 90-min diagnostic interview is conducted to assess the presenting problem, symptoms severity (onset, duration, frequency), review areas of life that have been impacted (daily functioning, work, home), collect history, including family history of anxiety or depression, and review what you hope to gain from treatment at ATSA. Specific questions and or measures may be administered during the session for diagnostic purposes.

Starting at 295

CPT CODE: 90791

Treatment Planning Session

A 60-min session to review how the first sessions have felt to you, present hypotheses, and collaborate on a treatment plan. Treatment approaches may include Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP). Treatment dose is also discussed, specifically if weekly 60-min outpatient sessions will be effective, or if intensive doses (e.g., 3-hr sessions) should be considered. Likewise, location of where sessions should occur for most effective outcome is also discussed and planned out. Decisions are made as to whether to start with therapy sessions only, allowing for the future addition of psychopharmacological treatment as an adjunct, or whether to start with combined treatment, (or in rare cases to start with psychopharmacological treatment before CBT, ACT, or ERP). 

Starting at 175

CPT CODE: 90837

Exposure Clinic Session

60 min exposure sessions to present you with the phobic stimulus and begin the process of fear extinction. The key to exposure therapy is to activate new learning, which is done by presenting the phobic stimulus, and assisting you to approach (vs avoid) the stimulus, using a hierarchical approach. With repeated exposures, you gain distress tolerance and fear extinction. Additional therapies (e.g., ACT, CBT) may be applied to keep you focused and motivated in preparation for exposures, particularly when exposures become more challenging as we move up the hierarchy. When possible, family members will be included to learn how to facilitate approach coping and reduce enabling avoidance. Our data show that when family members learn how to support you, you are more likely to maintain your treatment gains.

Starting at 175

CPT CODE: 90837

Exposure Therapy in Home or Community Settings

60-min exposure sessions provided in the home or community setting to help transfer treatment gains into these domains. To increase transfer of treatment gains, reduce avoidance of the phobia across settings, and reduce others rescuing you from approaching your phobia (to rescue you from distress), in-vivo and in-situ exposure therapy is most effective. Not only will you develop distress tolerance, new learning, and fear extinction, so will others in these settings, which helps them reduce rescuing and enabling. Home visits are used to help you use skills at home, and Community sessions provide exposure practice in new settings.

Starting at 185 + travel

CPT CODE: 90837

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