Prevalence and features of generalized anxiety disorder in Department of Veteran Affairs primary care settings

Melissa E. Milanak, Daniel F. Gros, Kathryn M. Magruder, Olga Brawman-Mintzer, B. Christopher Frueh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is a highly prevalent distressing condition for individuals in both community and community primary care settings. However, despite the high prevalence of GAD identified in epidemiological studies, little is known about GAD and its related symptoms and impairments in veteran populations. The present study investigated the prevalence, comorbidity, physical and mental health impairment, and healthcare utilization of veteran participants with GAD, as well as comparing symptoms of GAD and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Veterans (N=884) participated in a cross-sectional investigation in primary care clinics in four Veteran Affairs Medical Centers (VAMCs) and completed diagnostic interviews and self-report questionnaires; a chart review was conducted to assess their VAMC healthcare utilization. A large number of participants (12%) met diagnostic criteria for GAD, reporting significantly worse emotional health, pain, and general health, in addition to increased mental healthcare utilization and antidepressant medications. In addition, GAD was found in 40% of participants with PTSD, resulting in more severe symptoms and impairment than in patients with GAD alone. These findings provide evidence of high prevalence and severe impairment associated with GAD in veterans and highlight the need for improved recognition, assessment, and treatments for GAD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)173-179
Number of pages7
JournalPsychiatry Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 30 2013


  • Comorbidity
  • Healthcare utilization
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder
  • Veterans

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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