Dr. Kroenke and colleagues found that 19.5% of the patients surveyed in the study had one or more of the four most common anxiety disorders: post-traumatic stress disorders, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, or social anxiety disorder.
In an accompanying editorial, Wayne Katon, M.D., and Peter Roy-Byrne, M.D., of the University of Washington in Seattle said that "accurate recognition of anxiety disorders in primary care is the first step in providing effective treatment and potentially preventing development of major depression and social and vocational impairment."
"Kroenke and colleagues have developed and validated a brief anxiety questionnaire that efficiently screens for the most common anxiety disorders," they continued. "Hopefully, this contribution will help stimulate the continued development of effective primary care-based models to treat these highly prevalent disorders."
To determine the prevalence of anxiety disorders in primary care settings and evaluate the seven-item generalized anxiety disorder scale (GAD-7) they devised, the authors looked at 965 patients from 15 U.S. primary care clinics.