Failure and Delay in Treatment-Seeking Across Anxiety Disorders
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- Johnson, E.M. & Coles, M.E. Community Ment Health J (2013) 49: 668. doi:10.1007/s10597-012-9543-9
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Anxiety disorders are a significant mental health problem. Despite the availability of effective treatments most sufferers do not seek help. The current study assesses delays in treatment-seeking, failure to seek treatment, and reasons for delaying treatment for individuals with anxiety disorders. Data were drawn from the Collaborative Psychiatric Epidemiological Surveys including 3,805 participants and analyses focused on treatment-seeking variables. Results indicate that individuals with anxiety disorders are less likely to seek treatment from a professional and more likely to experience delays in obtaining both any treatment, and effective treatment, than individuals with other forms of mental illness (in this case unipolar depression or substance use disorders). Deficits in mental health literacy (knowledge and beliefs about mental illness) were commonly endorsed as reasons for having delayed seeking treatment. The current study highlights the importance of improving knowledge about anxiety disorders to improve treatment-seeking.