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A Journal on Psychiatry, Psychology and Psychopharmacology

Official Journal of the Italian Society of Social Psychiatry
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Minerva Psichiatrica 2014 September;55(3):107-30

language: English

Anxiety disorders: new guidelines, new treatments, new targets

Manson C. C. 1, Baldwin D. S. 1, 2

1 Clinical and Experimental Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK;
2 University Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa


The individual, familial and societal burden associated with anxiety disorders is considerable, but many who might benefit from treatment are not recognized or treated by healthcare professionals. Initial recognition relies on keen awareness of the symptoms that are seen in all anxiety disorders, and subsequent diagnosis rests on the identification of the characteristic features of particular disorders. The need for treatment is determined by the severity and persistence of symptoms, the degree of personal distress and level of associated disability, the presence of coexisting depressive symptoms, and other features such as a good response to or poor tolerability of previous treatment approaches: the choice of treatment is influenced by the evidence base, patient characteristics, patient and doctor preferences, and the local availability of potential interventions. There is much overlap between the different anxiety disorders in evidence-based and effective therapies (such as the prescription of a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor or a course of individual cognitive–behavioural therapy) but there are also important differences, and it helps to become familiar with both the characteristic features and detailed evidence base for each disorder.

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