What is the prognosis?
Many people put up with anxiety disorders over many years only coming to treatment when they have worsened or got out of control. Sometimes this can lead to substance abuse or depression, which complicates both the treatment and the outcome. While anxiety disorders are very common, not everyone will recognise that they have a serious illness. Instead, they will accommodate the illness or ‘rationalize’ it as a phase. Withdrawing from social circles, battling insomnia in private, isolating oneself and being unable to cope in the workplace can often be signs that an anxiety disorder is getting out of control.
Most anxiety disorders can be effectively treated. An important part of the management of anxiety is education. If people are confused by their symptoms, or not recognising them at all, they are often reassured to know that they are not alone and that treatment is possible. The prognosis for people living with anxiety disorders is good if advice, support and treatment is sought and the treatment is adhered to. Treatment will depend upon the diagnosis but can be either psychological (such as cognitive-behavioural therapy) or using a medication, or a combination of both. Using an effective psychotherapy is more likely to help prevent relapse. Wellness is improved if treatment continues for 12 months or until such a time that relapse is unlikely. Life-long management with either medication of behavioural therapies is not unusual for people with severe anxiety disorders but anxiety in general is a condition where a full remission (or at least a reduction of symptoms) is possible.