IMIM/UPF: The recognition and treatment of anxiety disorders needs improvement

IMIM/UPF: The recognition and treatment of anxiety disorders needs improvement

News from IMIM and DCEXS-UPF

Only one in ten patients with anxiety disorders receives the right treatment. It is the result of a study of more than 51,500 individuals from 21 different countries, which was commissioned by the WHO World Mental Health Survey to analyse the adequacy of anxiety disorder treatment across the globe. It reveals that 10% of people suffer anxiety. Of these, only 27.6% have received some type of treatment, and this was considered appropriate in only 9.8% of the cases. It is the first time that a study has confirmed this treatment gap in anxiety disorders at an international level.

The low proportion of patients who receive adequate treatment for anxiety disorders is due to various factors. In many cases, neither the patient nor the health system recognises the need for care. In fact, only 41.3% of people suffering anxiety are aware of their need for treatment. Weaknesses of the health system, treatment costs, and the stigma perceived by sufferers of these disorders further limit effective treatments. Even in high-income countries, only one-third of individuals with anxiety disorders receive treatment, with the exception of the United States, where care rates are considerably higher.

"Health literacy and awareness should be promoted in those countries where the need is not recognised, usually middle and/or low income countries. It is important to encourage healthcare providers to follow clinical guidelines to improve treatment quality when it comes to anxiety disorders", claims Jordi Alonso, director of the Epidemiology and Public Health programme at the Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute (IMIM), professor at the UPF and researcher at the CIBER Epidemiology and Public Health (CIBERESP). - RF/PRBB

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Reference article:
Jordi Alonso,, Treatment gap for anxiety disorders is global: Results of the World Mental Health Survey in 21 countries Depression and Anxiety 2018.