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Pharmacological Interventions for Adult Anxiety Disorders 

Pharmacological Interventions for Adult Anxiety Disorders
Pharmacological Interventions for Adult Anxiety Disorders

Ryan J. Kimmel

and Peter P. Roy-Byrne

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date: 27 October 2020

Use of benzodiazepines for the treatment of anxiety dates back almost 60 years, and the efficacy of monoamine-reuptake inhibition-based interventions in anxiety disorders has been established for over 50 years. Currently, a more specific type of monoamine reuptake inhibitor, the SSRI, is now well accepted as a first-line treatment. Though the DSM-5 divides anxiety disorders, obsessive compulsive disorders, and trauma-related disorders into separate chapters, serotonergic compounds still demonstrate efficacy across this spectrum of anxiety, in contrast to the more limited efficacy of benzodiazepines. The value of medications that target other receptor systems varies by diagnosis, as do pharmacologic augmentation strategies and overall rates of response to the SSRIs. The variability of response to various interventions among the disorders in the anxiety spectrum suggests that it is imperative to make a clear diagnosis, identify specific symptomatology that might be amenable to a specific treatment, and then track treatment results closely.

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