The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has called for better quality care for those who struggle with anxiety.
It claims currently that recognition of anxiety disorders is poor – especially in primary care – and therefore only a small minority of people experiencing such conditions ever receive treatment.
NICE is therefore calling for a new quality standard, requiring patients to be offered psychological interventions as a first-line treatment.
Head of psychology at Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust professor John Cape said: “Anxiety disorders are common, distressing and often disabling, yet people are often unaware they have a condition that can be helped by psychological or other treatment.”
He added the new quality standard would make it clear to doctors and other health professionals how important it is to identify the specific anxiety disorder with which each person is struggling and how to offer effective psychological treatment.
The chief executive of Anxiety UK Nicky Lidbetter welcomed the move and said it would help combat the problem of the patient’s anxiety being seen as secondary to depression – when anxiety is in fact the primary problem.