Diagnosis of Anxiety and Depression in General Practice

The University of Sydney, Disciplines of Psychiatry and General Practice are jointly conducting a study into Diagnosis of Anxiety and Depression in General Practice



The CADE Clinic is participating in a study into the diagnosis of anxiety and depression in general practice being conducted by the Discipline of Psychiatry, University of Sydney, in collaboration with the Discipline of General Practice.



There is evidence to suggest that GPs and psychiatrists approach the diagnosis and management of anxiety and depression differently 1, 2.

Research indicates that patients with anxiety and depression in general practice present with more comorbidity and more somatic complaints, and that a greater proportion of such patients may have emotional symptoms at the milder end of the spectrum.

Whilst used extensively by psychiatrists, classificatory systems such as DSM-IV and ICD-10 are generally not seen as useful by GPs3.

This study seeks to understand the diagnostic processes used by GPs in treating patients in whom they have recognised symptoms of anxiety and depression. It is hoped that this will form the basis for a further study examining whether diagnostic specificity in general practice is linked to outcome.

In the current study, GPs will be invited to attend a workshop facilitated by a GP colleague, in which two cases typical of psychological presentations in general practice will be presented for discussion.

The discussion will be recorded for future thematic analysis. Participants will also be asked to answer questions about the cases. All responses will be anonymous and no attempt will be made to identify participants in the analysis.


  1. Tavabie JA, Tavabie OD. Improving care in depression: qualitative study investigating the effects of using a mental health questionnaire. Quality Primary Care 2009; 17:251-261.
  2. Backenstrass M, Joest K, Rosemann T, Szecsenyi J. The care of patients with subthreshold depression in primary care: Is it all that bad? A qualitative study on the views of general practitioners and patients. BMC Health Services Research 2007; 7:190.
  3. Rijswijk Ev, Hout Hv, Lisdonk Evd, Zitman F, Weel Cv. Barriers in recognising, diagnosing and managing depressive and anxiety disorders as experienced by Family Physicians; a focus group study. BMC Fam Pract 2009; 10:52.

Ethics approval has been obtained. The full Participant Information Sheet will be provided to any GP interested in further information.



Participants will have the opportunity to discuss the cases further with a psychiatrist present at the meeting, and it is intended that QA/CPD points will be available for the activity.



Facilitator Affiliation
 Professor Tim Usherwood Professor of General Practice
Sydney Medical School - Western, University of Sydney
 Dr Narelle Shadbolt Senior Lecturer, General Practice
Sydney Medical School - Northern, University of Sydney



Seminar workshops will be conducted throughout Sydney, on a weeknight evening. A buffet dinner will be offered, following which the workshop will run for approximately two and half hours.GPs may attend any date or venue convenient to them. There is no cost to attend.

2011 Dates and Locations

We will be hosting the workshops throughout sydney, with dates and locations to be confirmed.  Please send expressions of interest to rita.hitching@sydney.edu.au.



The study is open to all GPs. The case discussion and opportunity for further discussion with a psychiatrist is likely to be of interest to GPs in a range of settings.



GPs interested in participating or booking a place should email their expressions of interest in the first instance to Rita Hitching rita.hitching@sydney.edu.au. There is no cost to attend.