The Anxiety Disorders Association of America (ADAA) and a leading online physician community, QuantiaMD, have joined forces to establish an interactive program to educate primary care providers in recognizing and managing common anxiety conditions.

Noting that two-thirds of American adults suffering from anxiety disorders do not receive treatment, the ADAA and QuantiaMD have collaborated in developing the program, “Recognizing and Treating Anxiety Disorders," for primary care physicians (PCP). QuantiaMD serves as an online training and educational forum for physician exchange, feedback, and expert presentations on leading medical research, technologies and findings. The ADAA is a national nonprofit organization providing advocacy, education, training and research in anxiety and stress-related disorders for the general public and professionals.

Lead by Mark H. Pollack, MD, Grainger Professor and Chairman, Department of Psychiatry, Rush University Medical Center, the program features a series of presentations by mental health experts on obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder and social anxiety disorder.

Experts Present on the Uniqueness of Each Disorder

Each presentation is given by an ADAA member and coordinates with the organization's annual conference and educational training programs. Presentation facilitators include medical specialists from the University of California at San Diego, the Massachusetts General Hospital, the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, and the McMaster University in Canada

While among the most common psychological disorders affecting an estimated 40 million American adults, anxiety illnesses are often unnoticed and undiagnosed in primary care settings. Due to limited insurance, stigma, or denial, many fail to receive treatment, with anxiety disorders frequently discovered by PCPs coincidentally while screening for other conditions.

QuantiaMD and ADAA are responding to physicians' requests for extra support and mental health training programs geared towards improving detection, diagnosis and treatment of anxiety-related illnesses.

Primary Care Physicians Need to Know the Basics

The ongoing pressure on primary care providers to provide effective medical services more efficiently and affordably underscores this need. Under President Obama's new healthcare plan, the PCP's role as gatekeeper regulating costs is expected to become increasingly critical, further highlighting the importance of training general physicians in recognizing anxiety problem.

In addition to training doctors in identifying anxiety disorders, the program will also guide physicians in determining when to refer patients to specialists.

Anxiety disorders manifest themselves in varied ways, with patients experiencing diverse symptoms and different degrees of severity. Anxiety encompasses a host of related disorders that share common components: bothersome yet seemingly uncontrollable thoughts and feelings that are frequent and severe enough to interfere with daily life. The onset of symptoms may be sudden or occurring since childhood, with environmental and genetic factors playing different roles in the development of the psychiatric condition.

Treatment can be Much More Effective With Proper Training

Treatment varies depending on the patient's personal history and diagnosis, though it often entails a combination of psychotherapy and medication. Specifically, cognitive behavioral therapy is often recommended to help patients identify and understand connections between their thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Medications known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, are frequently prescribed to target brain processes involved in transmitting emotions.

The online physician program is available to doctors via smartphones, tablets and the QuantiaMD website under the Primary Mental Health Interest Group heading.

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