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Phone-Based Care Helps Treat Panic, Anxiety Disorders

Intervention by non-mental health professionals reduces symptoms, improves quality of life

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FRIDAY, Dec. 9 (HealthDay News) -- The use of phone-based collaborative intervention by non-mental health professionals in the primary care setting is more effective in treating panic disorder and generalized anxiety disorder than usual physician care, according to a study published in the December issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.

Bruce L. Rollman, M.D., of the University of Pittsburgh, and colleagues conducted a randomized controlled trial of 191 patients at four Pittsburgh primary care practices. Overall, 116 patients were assigned to a telephone-based care management intervention and 75 patients and their physicians were simply given notification of their condition.

Those in the intervention group were contacted by non-mental health professionals who gave psychoeducation, ascertained the patients' preferences in terms of primary care, monitored their response to treatment and kept their physicians informed of their progress and preferences using an electronic medical record system.

By 12 months, patients in the intervention group reported reduced anxiety and depression, improved mental health-related quality of life and fewer days' absence from work compared to the patients in the usual care group. "Moreover, the intervention was effective within naturalistic practice conditions," the authors conclude.

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