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Focus on Anxiety Disorders

Establishment of Remission Criteria for Anxiety Disorders

Alicia C. Doyle, BA, and Mark H. Pollack, MD

Published: October 1, 2003

Article Abstract

Anxiety disorders such as generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, andposttraumatic stress disorder are typically chronic conditions associated with high health care costsand are often accompanied by psychiatric comorbidity, including major depressive disorder, substanceabuse, and other anxiety disorders. Anxiety disorders are associated with significant functionalimpairment in social, vocational, and familial spheres and with diminished overall quality of life. Thefollowing clinical overview provides informal guidelines for identifying remission in patients with ananxiety disorder. A systematic approach to treatment that includes patient education, encouragementof exposure, attention to relevant comorbidities, use of empirically proven pharmacotherapies, andpsychosocial interventions of adequate intensity and duration will improve outcomes and move patientstoward marked improvement and remission.

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