Importance of Establishing the Diagnosis of Persistent Anxiety

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Anxiety disorders, which include generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and phobic disorders, are the psychiatric disorders most commonly found in the community, according to the results of recent epidemiologic studies. However, failure to diagnose these disorders occurs in up to 50% of patients with an anxiety disorder. This failure to correctly diagnose and appropriately treat anxiety disorders can result in overutilization of health care services and increased morbidity and mortality rates from either the anxiety disorder or comorbid medical conditions. Reliable diagnostic tools to improve the early recognition of anxiety disorders can subsequently result in more effective treatment.

J Clin Psychiatry 1997;58(suppl 3):9–13