OBJECTIVE To gain insight into the experience and practice of psychiatrists in the pharmacological management of patients with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). METHODS Multiple-choice questionnaire completed by 501 psychiatrists (representing a 45% response rate) from 18 countries, selected by pharmaceutical company representatives to attend a scientific meeting, through having an interest in anxiety disorders. RESULTS Use of screening tools, routine structured diagnostic interviews, and practice guidelines was infrequent. Over one-third of patients did not receive their initial psychiatric consultation within a month after referral. A total of 45% of patients had symptoms for 2 years or longer before being diagnosed and treated. Most patients had been treated with benzodiazepines before referral. 80% of respondents always or often prescribed selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), 43% serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), or pregabalin (35%) as first-line treatments. The most frequently recommended second-line treatments were SNRIs (41%) and pregabalin (36%). Concentration difficulties, fatigue, excessive worrying and pain were reported as the symptoms most difficult to manage. CONCLUSIONS Patients with GAD have frequently been treated with benzodiazepines before referral to a psychiatrist. SSRIs were the preferred first-line treatment, and SNRIs and pregabalin preferred second-line treatments. Reported practice in this sample appears largely consistent with recent evidence-based treatment guidelines.