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Diagnosis and Treatment Procedures for Patients With Anxiety Disorders by the Psychiatric Consultation Liaison Service in a General Hospital in Germany: A Retrospective Analysis

Christina Anderson, PhD; Deborah Tauch, candMed; and Arnim Quante, MD

Published: October 8, 2015

Article Abstract

Objective: To investigate the population of patients with anxiety disorders in a general hospital in Germany who required treatment by a consultation psychiatrist.

Method: A retrospective investigation of psychiatric consultations concerning 119 patients with anxiety disorders (DSM-IV criteria) from January 1, 2011, to December 31, 2012, was conducted in a general hospital of the Charité Berlin, Berlin, Germany. The frequency of different anxiety disorders, the distribution of anxiety disorders among the departments of the general hospital, and the recommended treatment procedure were investigated.

Results: The largest group of patients with anxiety symptoms presented panic attacks. Many of these patients sought treatment in the emergency department of the hospital primarily due to their anxiety symptoms. Within the group of somatically ill patients, panic attacks were prominent, especially in patients with cardiac or respiratory diseases. Treatment procedures comprised pharmacologic and psychotherapeutic interventions. Benzodiazepines and psychoeducation were common acute treatments; antidepressants, pregabalin, and psychotherapy were recommended for long-term treatment.

Conclusions: Many patients who primarily suffer from symptoms of anxiety seek treatment in a general hospital, especially in the emergency department. It is therefore very important for the individual patient as well as the health care system that the correct treatment is initiated. The consultation-liaison psychiatric service within a general hospital is important to ensure the best possible diagnostic procedures as well as treatment for patients with anxiety disorders.

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