This small group meeting with a trained facilitator provides GPs the opportunity to reinforce and improve the management of anxiety in primary care. The interactive, tailored discussion will provide GPs with clarity around diagnosis and assessment of anxiety as well as information on evidence-based treatments, including cognitive behavioural therapy. The activity addresses several quality use of medicine issues when pharmacological treatment is needed. Data from the NPS MedicineInsight program will be provided to help GPs and practice staff draw insights from current practice.
Relevance to General Practice
Anxiety is the most common mental health problem in Australia, affecting around 14% of the population aged 16-85 years. It is also one of the chronic problems most frequently managed by GPs.
Over the last decade, there have been significant increases in patient presentations of anxiety, however international evidence suggests that many people with anxiety disorders still remain undiagnosed, as individuals are likely to delay seeking help for many years. GPs play an important role in distinguishing the presence of anxiety disorder(s) in those with anxiety symptoms.
This program will focus on assessing anxiety symptoms to assist in appropriate management and referral. It will provide information on evidence-based psychological management options recommended as first-line treatment for people with mild to moderate anxiety. Clarification around pharmacological treatment for the management of patients with moderate to severe anxiety is provided.
- Differentiate between anxiety symptoms and anxiety disorder, by assessing severity, persistence, contributing factors and impact on the patient.
- Use evidence-based psychological treatments as first line for patients with mild or moderate anxiety.
- Recognise SSRI antidepressant monotherapy as first line for patients with anxiety requiring pharmacological treatment.
- Review the use of polypharmacy for anxiety, recognising the specific but limited role of antipsychotics and benzodiazepines.
- Discuss systems in your practice and prioritise areas for improvement in the management of patients with anxiety.
Domains of General Practice
D1. Communication skills and the patient-doctor relationship
D2. Applied professional knowledge and skills
D3. Population health and the context of general practice
D4. Professional and ethical role
D5. Organisational and legal dimensions
Curriculum Contextual Units
- Rural health
- Adult health