Anxiety Guidelines Launched

  • Bill English

Health Minister Bill English today launched guidelines aimed at helping GPs recognise and treat anxiety disorders.

"One in 10 people suffer significant problems either socially or at work because of anxiety disorders - things like panic disorders, phobias, generalised anxiety, acute stress and obsessive compulsive disorders. Four out of five of them will have seen their GP recently, yet very few will have asked directly for help.

"These guidelines are practical and will help GPs diagnose and then treat these disorders. Some of the common symptoms are excessive worrying, dizziness, hyperventialation, headaches, muscular tension, sleeping problems and panic attacks.

"All of us suffer from stress at various stages in our lives, but for some people it is a much bigger problem and can markedly impair their emotional, social and working lives, causing distress to them and their families. The guidelines have been developed by the National Health Committee and this report is one of three looking at mental disorders commonly seen by GPs and practic nurses. The first, Guidelines for the treatment and management of depression, was published in 1996 and a report on alcohol and cannabis abuse is due next year.

"I am pleased to see these reports being produced by the Committee. Our secondary mental health services provide support for three percent of the population only so it is vital that we use the expertise and support available at the community level," said Mr English.