CBT Is The Gold Standard Treatment For Anxiety Disorder

Written by Jim Folk
Medically reviewed by Marilyn Folk, BScN.
Last updated May 16, 2021

CBT Is The

CBT is the most effective way to address anxiety disorder, according to multiple studies.

What’s the most effective way to address anxiety disorder? CBT, according to multiple studies.

Extensive studies conducted over the last 10 years have found that CBT is the most effective treatment for anxiety disorders. As such, it is considered the “Gold Standard” in the treatment of anxiety disorder (and depression).

The studies were extensive and conclusive…and all agree.

For example, the 2011 study entitled Cognitive behavior Therapy in anxiety disorders: current state of evidence [1]states:

“Overall, CBT demonstrates both efficacy in randomized controlled trials and effectiveness in naturalistic settings in the treatment of adult anxiety disorders.”

This study also includes this statement in its conclusions:

“Despite some weaknesses of the original studies, the quantitative literature review of randomized placebo-controlled trials and of trials in naturalistic treatment settings provides strong support for both the efficacy and effectiveness of CBT as an acute intervention for adult anxiety disorders.”

“…the meta-analyses confirm that CBT is by far the most consistently empirically supported psychotherapeutic option in the treatment of anxiety disorders. Thus, CBT can be recommended as a gold standard in the psychotherapeutic treatment of patients with anxiety disorders,” the study concludes.

An earlier 2008 study entitled, Cognitive-behavioral therapy for adult anxiety disorders: a meta-analysis of randomized placebo-controlled trials[2] states:

“Our review of randomized placebo-controlled trials indicates that CBT is efficacious for adult anxiety disorders.”

An AIPC Article Library article that reviewed these studies states:

“CBT is considered the gold standard in the psychotherapeutic treatment of anxiety disorders and several meta-analyses (i.e., studies reviewing the results of multiple studies) have been published in recent years regarding the efficacy and effectiveness of CBT for anxiety (Stewart & Chambless, 2009; Hoffman & Smits, 2008; Norton & Price, 2007).”[3]

It further states:

“Having scrutinised the evidence in three major meta-analyses concerning use of CBT treatments with the various anxiety disorders in randomised controlled and uncontrolled trials and in real-life settings, we see that both the efficacy and effectiveness of CBT for anxiety in adults appears to be solidly grounded.”[3]

After many years of study and carefully evaluating the evidence, the conclusion is clear: CBT is the Gold Standard for anxiety disorder resolution.

And this makes sense. Since anxiety disorder is caused by specific underlying factors, including the ways we behave (the ways we think and act in an overly apprehensive manner), identifying and successfully addressing the underlying factors that create issues with anxiety resolves the anxiety disorder problem.

This finding agrees with our personal and professional experiences with anxiety disorder. All of us at anxietycentre.com experienced and personally overcame a struggle with debilitating anxiety disorder.

The work we did involved dealing with anxiety’s underlying factors – the unhealthy behaviors, situations, and circumstances that cause problems with anxiety. It’s the same work that has helped countless people become successful, too, over the years.

Addressing anxiety’s underlying factors eliminates anxiety disorder and its symptoms.

If you are struggling with anxiety disorder, accessing good self-help information and working with an experienced anxiety disorder therapist is the most effective way to overcome anxiety disorder.[4]

That said, there are many forms of CBT. And, not all therapists are equal.

If you didn’t find CBT helpful, we recommend trying a different form of CBT or a different therapist.  Finding the right combination produces excellent results.

Yes, therapy requires personal effort. But it’s work we can do with the right information, help, and support.

Related articles:

Disclaimer: anxietycentre.com is not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted at anxietycentre.com by contributing institutions or for the use of that information throughout anxietycentre.com's system.

The combination of good self-help information and working with an experienced anxiety disorder therapist, coach, or counselor is the most effective way to address anxiety and its many symptoms. Until the core causes of anxiety are addressed – which we call the underlying factors of anxiety – a struggle with anxiety unwellness can return again and again. Dealing with the underlying factors of anxiety is the best way to address problematic anxiety.

Additional Resources

Return to our Anxiety Research page.

anxietycentre.com: Information, support, and therapy for anxiety disorder and its symptoms, including CBT Is The "Gold Standard" Treatment For Anxiety Disorder.


[1]Otte, Christian. "Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in Anxiety Disorders: Current State of the Evidence." Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience. Les Laboratoires Servier, Dec. 2011. Web. 19 Sept. 2016.

[2]Hofmann, Stefan G., and Jasper Smits A. J. "COGNITIVE-BEHAVIORAL THERAPY FOR ADULT ANXIETY DISORDERS: A meta-ANALYSIS OF RANDOMIZED PLACEBO-CONTROLLED TRIALS." The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. U.S. National Library of Medicine, Apr. 2008. Web. 19 Sept. 2016.

[3]"Treating Anxiety with CBT: The Evidence." AIPC Article Library. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Sept. 2016.

[4]DISCLAIMER: Because each body is somewhat chemically unique, and because each person will have a unique mix of symptoms and underlying factors, recovery results may vary. Variances can occur for many reasons, including due to the severity of the condition, the ability of the person to apply the recovery concepts, and the commitment to making behavioral change.