A Treatment Algorithm for the Management of Anxiety in Primary Care Practice

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Patients frequently present to primary care physicians with somatic symptoms that mask an underlying anxiety disorder. As a result, unnecessary diagnostic tests are ordered, and inappropriate medications are prescribed. Psychiatrists may help improve their primary care colleagues’ ability to identify and treat these anxiety disorders. This paper reviews the adverse effects of untreated anxiety in managed care settings and outlines a treatment algorithm that psychiatrists may wish to use to assist primary care physicians in the cost-efficient, pharmacologic treatment of anxiety disorders in their patients.

J Clin Psychiatry 1997;58(suppl 3):76–80