Delay to seek treatment for anxiety and mood disorders in an Australian clinical sample

Anna Thompson, Cathy Issikadis, Caroline Hunt

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    56 Citations (Scopus)
    52 Downloads (Pure)

    Abstract

    There exist effective treatments for common anxiety and mood disorders and yet epidemiological studies reveal that the unmet need for treatment in the community remains high. This study investigates the significance of the initial delay to first seek professional help in this unmet need for treatment in an Australian sample. Help-seeking history was retrospectively reported by 273 new referrals to a specialist anxiety treatment clinic who had a primary diagnosis of an anxiety (78%) or mood disorder (22%). Clinical, demographic and attitudinal variables were tested as potential predictors of length of the delay. Average help-seeking delay was 8.2 years, range 0 to 72 years. Younger age at symptom onset and slower problem recognition were associated with delayed help-seeking, and older people were more likely to report longer delays. We conclude that delays to first seek treatment are long and contribute significantly to the unmet need for treatment for anxiety and mood disorders, and that lack of problem recognition is a significant barrier to help-seeking.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)71-84
    Number of pages14
    JournalBehaviour Change
    Volume25
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2008

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