Feature Article

Managing anxiety disorders in adults

GREGORY WILKINS, Gavin Andrews, CAROLINE BELL, Philip Boyce, CHRISTOPHER GALE, RONALD RAPEE, Lisa Lampe

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© RAPIDEYE/ISTOCKPHOTO.COM MODEL USED FOR ILLUSTRATIVE PURPOSES ONLY

Abstract

The GP has a key role in identifying patients presenting with anxiety symptoms and ensuring appropriate acute and long-term management. There are two key messages for GPs to follow: once you have made a diagnosis of an anxiety disorder, tell the patient you have a treatment for it. Second, do not let your anxiety lead you to prescribe inappropriately or overinvestigate for all possible differential diagnoses.

Key Points

  • Management of anxiety disorder requires a biopsychosocial and lifestyle approach.
  • Anxiety disorders are common and often disabling but are under-recognised and often poorly treated in clinical practice.
  • Effective first-line treatments are cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), either face-to-face or digitally delivered (dCBT), and the serotonergic antidepressants.
  • No matter what treatment is selected, it is likely to take four to six weeks to begin to show an effect.
  • Functional recovery is the goal and is achievable through effective use of evidence-based treatments.
  • Use of evidence-based clinical practice guidelines for treatment has been shown to result in better outcomes.

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© RAPIDEYE/ISTOCKPHOTO.COM MODEL USED FOR ILLUSTRATIVE PURPOSES ONLY
© RAPIDEYE/ISTOCKPHOTO.COM MODEL USED FOR ILLUSTRATIVE PURPOSES ONLY