Medical utilization across the anxiety disorders

J Anxiety Disord. 2008;22(2):344-50. doi: 10.1016/j.janxdis.2007.03.004. Epub 2007 Mar 12.


Individuals with panic disorder often seek medical care for their symptoms prior to receiving effective treatment. However, little is known about how often, and in what settings, patients with other anxiety disorders present for medical treatment. In the present study, utilization of general and specialty medical services was coded via electronic chart review for 171 consecutive outpatients referred to an anxiety disorders clinic. Results indicated that panic disorder patients accrued the most medical visits overall, as well as the most frequent visits to cardiology, family medicine, and emergency medicine. Few differences in medical utilization were evident among patients with generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, social phobia, and specific phobias. Patients with anxiety disorders appear to be frequent utilizers of medical services prior to receiving effective treatment. Our findings highlight the need for improved recognition and treatment of anxiety disorders, particularly panic disorder, in a number of medical settings.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Ambulatory Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Anxiety Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Anxiety Disorders / therapy
  • Emergency Medical Services / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Health Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medicine / statistics & numerical data
  • Panic Disorder / epidemiology
  • Panic Disorder / therapy
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care*
  • Phobic Disorders / epidemiology
  • Phobic Disorders / therapy
  • Primary Health Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Referral and Consultation / statistics & numerical data
  • Specialization
  • Utilization Review