Treatment for anxiety disorders should be continued for 6 months to a year; a more definitive time frame is not yet clear. Results from long-term RCTs of antidepressants in anxiety disorders indicate that maintenance treatment significantly reduces the risk of relapse, whatever the disorder (Thuile et al., 2009). Decisions on length of treatment are generally made on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the risk/benefit ratio of treatment versus no treatment. If the decision is to discontinue treatment, the medication should be tapered at a rate that takes into account its pharmacokinetics and whether the patient experiences withdrawal symptoms (see Box 47-9).
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