Research suggests that as many as 25% of patients who approach a primary care physician are experiencing emotional concerns. Research also suggests that:
- counseling increases resilience to life stressors, and
- the combination of medication and counseling may be more effective than either medication alone or counseling alone.
University of Pennsylvania psychiatrists Staab and Evans offer primary care physicians an efficient method for diagnosing mood, anxiety, and adjustment disorders through the use of a few screening questions, followed up, if positive, with inquiry into other symptoms. These screening questions explore:
- feelings of anxiety or tension,
- recent mood, and
- stressful situations.
Some physicians may be unable to offer as much counseling as they might like due to time constraints. In these cases, patients may benefit from a referral for counseling, or for psychological services such as EMDR.
Over 20 years of research support the efficacy of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) in reducing anxiety, with improvement maintained at post-treatment follow-up. EMDR was developed in the United States and has helped people in 70 countries overcome the psychological impact of trauma and natural disasters.
For more information on efficacy and treatment outcomes see the EMDR Institute and the EMDR International Association For information on international services, see the EMDR Humanitarian Assistance Program (EMDR HAP), which has been described as a mental health service comparable to Doctors Without Borders.
Gauvreau, Philippe; Bouchard, Stéphane. (2008). Preliminary evidence for the efficacy of EMDR in treating generalized anxiety disorder. Journal of EMDR Practice and Research, 2(1), 26-40.
Hawley, Lance L.; Ho, Moon-Ho Ringo; Zuroff, David C.; Blatt, Sidney J. (2007). Stress reactivity following brief treatment for depression: Differential effects of psychotherapy and medication. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 75(2), 244-256.
Manber, Rachel; Kraemer, Helena C.; Arnow, Bruce A.; Trivedi, Madhukar H.; Rush, A. John; Thase, Michael E.; Rothbaum, Barbara O.; Klein, Daniel N.; Kocsis, James H.; Gelenberg, Alan J.; Keller, Martin E. (2008). Faster remission of chronic depression with combined psychotherapy and medication than with each therapy alone. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 76(3), 459-467.
Shapiro et al. (1984). Utilization of mental health services. Archives of General Psychiatry 41, 971-978.
Srinivasan, M. (2001). Changes in the length of office visits. New England Journal of Medicine 344(19), 1476.
Staab, Jeffrey P., & Evans, Dwight L. (2001). A streamlined method for diagnosing common psychiatric disorders in primary care. Clinical Cornerstone 3(3), 1-9.
Copyright © 2012 by Deborah J. Armstrong