Research articles on anxiety disorders


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Treatments for anxiety and depression can have substantial elements in common Box 3. Initial steps are making the diagnosis, explaining symptomatology, and providing hope. Psychosocial interventions, including clinical support, education and rehabilitation, are valuable. For patients with more severe illness or those who do not respond to psychological interventions, pharmacotherapy is indicated. Pharmacotherapy particularly decreases over-activity of limbic structures of the brain bottom-up effect , whereas psychotherapy tends to increase activity and recruitment of frontal areas top-down effect.

As most effective treatments for depression also have useful anti-anxiety effects, a pragmatic approach is to begin by treating the depression. Residual specific anxiety disorder symptoms can then be treated, with most responding to psychological interventions rather than additional pharmacotherapy. The psychological treatment with the greatest evidence base for depression is cognitive behaviour therapy CBT. Guidance regarding treatment of anxiety disorders can be found in a practical clinician guide and patient manuals, 39 and in an overview of management in general practice.

Antidepressants are the mainstay of treating unipolar depression, 42 with present agents working mostly through serotonergic, noradrenergic, and dopaminergic receptors see Chan et al. Effective pharmacotherapy for depression will mostly reduce anxiety disorders as well.


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For some anxiety disorders, such as obsessive—compulsive disorder, higher doses of antidepressants are required than for depression. Engage specialist help if needed. There has been a progressive move away from using benzodiazepines to treat anxiety because of problems with the actions of these agents and adverse events.

As well as being anxiolytic, they are sedating, which can impair safety when patients are driving or using machinery; they also interact with alcohol. Their muscle relaxant effects can predispose to falls, especially in older people. There can be adverse effects on attention, concentration and memory. At higher doses, there is a greater risk of tolerance and dependency, as well as a risk of discontinuation effects, including possible seizures, when abruptly withdrawing benzodiazepines.

Although some patients remain well and in stable condition while taking low doses of these agents, the evidence is predominantly for their acute short-term use. Psychological interventions are generally preferable for sustained outcomes. Low doses of atypical antipsychotic agents can reduce anxiety, 48 but there is a risk of tardive dyskinesia with long-term use, and metabolic problems are associated with some of these agents.

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Antidepressants are the main options for long-term pharmacological treatment of anxiety disorders. Comorbid depression and anxiety are common and affect up to a quarter of patients attending general practice. Screening for comorbidity is important, as such patients are at greater risk of substance misuse, have a worse response to treatment, are more likely to remain disabled, endure a greater burden of disease, and are more likely to use health services in general. There are effective treatments for specific disorders, but a paucity of data about treatment for anxiety and depression comorbidity.

More than a third of patients with a mental disorder do not seek treatment, and almost half are offered treatments that may not be beneficial. This suggests the need for further public awareness and professional education that can enhance clinical practice, promoting better mental health outcomes. Anxiety and depression, when combined:.

Poor attention and concentration, slow thinking, distractibility, impaired memory, indecisiveness. Provenance: Commissioned by supplement editors; externally peer reviewed. I thank Iveta Krivonos, research assistant, for assisting in the preparation of this article.

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Author's surname. First page. Short reports. Guidelines and statements. Narrative reviews. Ethics and law. Medical education. Clinical focus. Volume Issue 6 Suppl. Med J Aust ; 6 : SS Topics Mental disorders. This is a republished version of an article previously published in MJA Open D epression and anxiety disorders are among the most common illnesses in the community and in primary care. Epidemiology In Australia, the month prevalence of anxiety disorders is Causal pathways Developmentally, anxiety disorders are almost always the primary condition, with onset usually occurring in childhood or adolescence.

Impact and health care use Comorbid depression and anxiety can increase impairment 16 , 17 and health care use, 18 compared with either disorder alone. Clinical recognition of depression and anxiety It is important to delineate the specific depressive disorder and the specific anxiety disorder, as each may require different interventions. Psychological treatments for depressive disorders The psychological treatment with the greatest evidence base for depression is cognitive behaviour therapy CBT.

Psychological treatments for anxiety disorders Guidance regarding treatment of anxiety disorders can be found in a practical clinician guide and patient manuals, 39 and in an overview of management in general practice. Pharmacotherapy for unipolar depression Antidepressants are the mainstay of treating unipolar depression, 42 with present agents working mostly through serotonergic, noradrenergic, and dopaminergic receptors see Chan et al.

Pharmacotherapy for anxiety disorders Effective pharmacotherapy for depression will mostly reduce anxiety disorders as well. Conclusions Comorbid depression and anxiety are common and affect up to a quarter of patients attending general practice. View this article on Wiley Online Library. Australian Bureau of Statistics. National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: summary of results, Canberra: ABS, ABS Cat.

Anxiety Disorders Journal Articles

Psychol Med ; Gorman JM. Comorbid depression and anxiety spectrum disorders. Depress Anxiety ; 4: Pollack MH. Comorbid anxiety and depression. J Clin Psychiatry ; 66 Suppl 8: Prevalence and correlates of generalized anxiety disorder among older adults in the Australian National Survey of Mental Health and Well-Being. J Affect Disord ; Prevalence of anxiety disorders and their comorbidity with mood and addictive disorders. Br J Psychiatry Suppl ; 34 : Arch Gen Psychiatry ; Depression comorbid with anxiety: results from the WHO study on psychological disorders in primary health care.

Br J Psychiatry Suppl ; 30 : Diagnosis and treatment of depression and anxiety in rural and nonrural primary care: national survey results. Psychiatr Serv ; Goldberg D. Epidemiology of mental disorders in primary care settings. Epidemiol Rev ; Why do people with anxiety disorders become depressed? A prospective-longitudinal community study. Acta Psychiatr Scand Suppl ; : The co-morbidity of anxiety and depression in the perspective of genetic epidemiology. A review of twin and family studies. Boyer P.

Do anxiety and depression have a common pathophysiological mechanism? Neuro Endocrinol Lett ; Am J Psychiatry ; Kuzel RJ.

Treating comorbid depression and anxiety. Treatment outcomes for primary care patients with major depression and lifetime anxiety disorders. Co-morbidity and health care utilisation five years prior to diagnosis for depression.

A brief description of each disorder and diagnostic criteria according to DSM-5 are described in Box 2. Previous editions classified post-traumatic stress disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder as anxiety disorders; however, these are now considered to be separate entities. Resources for patients and healthcare professionals on the diagnosis and management of anxiety disorders are listed in Box 3.

Resources are available to help patients and healthcare professionals identify and manage anxiety disorders, and help raise awareness of the conditions.

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