Prevalence of generalized anxiety disorder in family practice clinics

Author(s): Farihan F Barghouti, Amina I Al Masalha, Heba Fayyomi, Latifa O Mari'e and Muayyad M Ahmad*

Generalized anxiety disorder is a common mental health in general practice. The aims of this study are to determine the prevalence of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) among patients attending family practice clinics and its relation to socio-demographic factors and chronic diseases. A cross-sectional design was used on 811 patients over a twomonth period in family medicine clinics at a large teaching hospital in Jordan. This study utilized a self -administered questionnaire that included questions about socio-demographic factors, chronic diseases, and GAD 7-item (GAD7). Patients who were positively diagnosed to have anxiety were then interviewed using DSM-IV criteria to confirm the diagnosis. The prevalence of generalized anxiety disorder was 23.7%. Patients aged 36-45 were five times more likely to have anxiety than other age groups. Women were twice as likely to have GAD as compared to men. Illiterate patients were more likely to have this disorder than others. Patients with a positive family history of anxiety were more diagnosed with GAD than patients with a negative family history, and patients with asthma or arthritis were more likely to develop GAD than other chronic conditions. The prevalence of GAD among patients attending family medicine clinics is relatively high and is associated with socio-demographic factors and chronic diseases, which necessitate enhancing awareness of the prevalence, diagnosis and management of generalized anxiety disorders among family practitioners.