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Depression and anxiety

This is a republished version of an article previously published in MJA Open

Depression and anxiety disorders are among the most common illnesses in the community and in primary care. Patients with depression often have features of anxiety disorders, and those with anxiety disorders commonly also have depression. Both disorders may occur together, meeting criteria for both. It can be difficult to discriminate between them but it is important to identify and treat both illnesses, as they are associated with significant morbidity and mortality. General practitioners are well placed to identify and take a primary role in treatment of these illnesses, to facilitate better mental health outcomes.

Epidemiology

In Australia, the 12-month prevalence of anxiety disorders is 14.4% and of affective disorders, 6.2%.1 It has been demonstrated that 39% of individuals with generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) also meet criteria for depression.2 About 85% of patients with depression also experience significant symptoms of anxiety, while comorbid…

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