Objective: This study examined rates of specific anxiety diagnoses (posttraumatic stress disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, social anxiety disorder, and specific phobia) and anxiety disorder not otherwise specified (anxiety NOS) in a national sample of Veterans and assessed their mental health service utilization.
Method: This study used administrative data extracted from Veteran Health Administration outpatient records to identify patients with a new anxiety diagnosis in fiscal year 2010 (N = 292,244). Logistic regression analyses examined associations among diagnostic specificity, diagnostic location, and mental health service utilization.
Results: Anxiety NOS was diagnosed in 38% of the sample. Patients in specialty mental health were less likely to receive an anxiety NOS diagnosis than patients in primary care (odds ratio [OR] = 0.36). Patients with a specific anxiety diagnosis were more likely to receive mental health services than those with anxiety NOS (OR = 1.65), as were patients diagnosed in specialty mental health compared with those diagnosed in primary care (OR = 16.29).
Conclusion: Veterans diagnosed with anxiety NOS are less likely to access mental health services than those with a specific anxiety diagnosis, suggesting the need for enhanced diagnostic and referral practices, particularly in primary care settings.
Keywords: Anxiety; Anxiety disorder not otherwise specified; Diagnostic; Mental health service utilization; Veteran.
Published by Elsevier Inc.