Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and panic disorder (PD) are two common mental illnesses that
present in primary care clinics, often with physical symptoms that can inhibit appropriate diagnosis
and treatment. Recognition of these disorders by primary care physicians is much lower than the
expected ratesï¿½in part due to somatic presentations but also due to the lack of routine screening
that is in place for some other mental illnesses. Patients with anxiety disorders are often high
utilizers of health care resources, and when their anxiety disorders are not diagnosed and treated,
they can frequently undergo more expensive testing to rule out medical causes.
Identification of accurate and feasible screening instruments for GAD and PD that have been
validated in primary care settings have the potential to improve detection and facilitate treatment
of these disorders within the primary care clinic, or to generate appropriate referral. Our report is
a systematic review of the literture to evaluate the performance of self-report instruments used to
diagnose GAD and PD in primary care settings.
Three key questions (KQs) guided this systematic review: