Future directions in the treatment of anxiety
Future directions for anxiety disorders may be split into three areas: research, clinical practice, and public attitudes. With regard to research, we must learn much more about the clinical course of anxiety disorders. Is it a short-term disease or a lifetime illness characterized by recurrence and chronicity? Our classification system must be refined and diagnostic criteria sharpened. Clinical practice issues are of greatest importance to the medical community and to our patients. We must increase our knowledge of what treatments to prescribe for what disorders, and develop approaches to discontinuation which are practicable. We must work in the public arena to foster the notion that anxiety disorders are diseases, and not expressions of character flaws. We must educate our colleagues in the mental health profession, our colleagues in the general health care community, and the general public at large.