- Explain to patients who ask that this study found that about one-fifth of patients in 15 primary-care practices surveyed had one of the four most common forms of anxiety disorder, but only about 60% of those with an apparent anxiety disorder were being treated for it.
- Explain that the study was funded by a drug company that makes an antidepressant that is also marketed for treatment of anxiety.
INDIANAPOLIS, March 13 -- Anxiety disorders are as prevalent as depression among patients in primary-care practices, but often go untreated, investigators here have found.
Nearly one in five patients in 15 primary-care practices had signs of anxiety, as determined by a self-administered seven-item questionnaire, but only 61% of those with a possible anxiety disorder were being treated for it, reported Kurt Kroenke, M.D., of Indiana University and the Regenstrief Institute.
Answers to just two of the seven questions would have been sufficient to alert clinicians to the need for further screening and treatment of patients for anxiety, the investigators wrote in the March 6 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.
Dr. Kroenke pointed out that symptoms of anxiety can be easily missed in a busy primary-care practice. "The seven-question [instrument] and remarkably even the two-question 'ultra brief' version gives the physician a tool to quantify the patient's symptoms--sort of a lab test for anxiety."