A controlled trial of treatments for generalized anxiety.
Lindsay WR., Gamsu CV., McLaughlin E., Hood EM., Espie CA.
Treatments for chronic anxiety have received considerable interest recently. Firstly, there is a body of research which has shown problems of dependence and habituation in the long-term use of anti-anxiety drugs. A second development is that of psychological treatments for anxiety. Because of the problems involved in the use of benzodiazepines, it is important to determine whether or not psychological treatments are a reasonable alternative when treating chronic anxiety. This study was designed to test the relative effectiveness of cognitive-behavioural therapy, anxiety management training and treatment by benzodiazepines against a waiting list control. Measures were taken on both the process and outcome of treatment. The most immediate and greatest improvements in anxiety were seen in the group receiving drugs. However, these improvements reduced as the trial progressed and were minimal at the end of therapy. Both psychological treatment groups improved as the trial progressed with the most significant and consistent changes seen in the cognitive-behaviour therapy group. However, at follow-up there was no difference between the two groups receiving psychological treatments. Because of their lack of sustained improvement, over half of the group receiving drugs refused to wait without treatment until the follow-up assessment.