Attending to Anxiety Disorders in Primary Care

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Anxiety disorders are highly prevalent among patients in primary care. These conditions can be disabling and costly to the patient and to the health care system. Despite the prevalence of anxiety disorders, however, patients often remain undiagnosed and untreated, and patients with unrecognized anxiety disorders tend to be high users of general medical care. Diagnosis may be complicated by the typical presentation in primary care; patients with anxiety disorders may present with multiple somatic complaints and comorbid disorders, causing great effort and expense in identifying the cause of unexplained symptoms. Once anxiety disorders are identified, patients may be treated using well-tested and efficacious psychosocial and pharmacologic treatments. It is therefore important for primary care physicians to recognize and treat patients with anxiety disorders.

J Clin Psychiatry 2003;64(suppl 15):35-39