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J Affect Disord. 2015 Sep 1;183:134-41. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2015.05.002. Epub 2015 May 12.

Recent trends in the incidence of anxiety and prescription of anxiolytics and hypnotics in children and young people: An e-cohort study.

Author information

1
College of Medicine, Swansea University, Institute of Life Sciences 2, Swansea SA2 8PP, United Kingdom; Farr Institute of Health Informatics Research, College of Medicine, Swansea University, Swansea SA2 8PP, United Kingdom. Electronic address: a.john@swansea.ac.uk.
2
College of Medicine, Swansea University, Institute of Life Sciences 2, Swansea SA2 8PP, United Kingdom; Farr Institute of Health Informatics Research, College of Medicine, Swansea University, Swansea SA2 8PP, United Kingdom.
3
College of Medicine, Swansea University, Institute of Life Sciences 2, Swansea SA2 8PP, United Kingdom.
4
EHESP School for Public Health, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, EA 4057 Paris Descartes University, France.
5
AP-HP, Henri Mondor-Albert Chenevier Hospital, Department of Psychiatry, Creteil F-94000, France.
6
School of Social and Community Medicine, Bristol University, Bristol BS8 2BN, United Kingdom.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Little is known regarding the recognition of anxiety in children and young people (CYP) in primary care. This study examined trends in the presentation, recognition and recording of anxiety and of anxiolytic and hypnotic prescriptions for CYP in primary care.

METHOD:

A population-based retrospective electronic cohort of individuals aged 6-18 years between 2003 and 2011 within the Secure Anonymised Information Linkage (SAIL) Databank primary care database was created. Incidence rates were calculated using person years at risk (PYAR) as a denominator accounting for deprivation, age and gender.

RESULTS:

We identified a cohort of 311,343 registered individuals providing a total of 1,546,489 person years of follow up. The incidence of anxiety symptoms more than tripled over the study period (Incidence Rate Ratio (IRR)=3.55, 95% CI 2.65-4.77) whilst that of diagnosis has remained stable. Anxiolytic/hypnotic prescriptions for the cohort as a whole did not change significantly over time; however there was a significant increase in anxiolytic prescriptions for the 15-18 year age group (IRR 1.62, 95% CI 1.30-2.02).

LIMITATIONS:

There was a lack of reliable information regarding other interventions available or received at a primary, secondary or tertiary level such as psychological treatments.

CONCLUSIONS:

There appears to be a preference over time for the recording of general symptoms over diagnosis for anxiety in CYP. The increase in anxiolytic prescriptions for 15-18 year olds is discrepant with current prescribing guidelines. Specific guidance is required for the assessment and management of CYP presenting with anxiety to primary care, particularly older adolescents.

KEYWORDS:

Anxiety; Anxiolytic; Children; Hypnotic; Primary care; Young people

PMID:
26005207
DOI:
10.1016/j.jad.2015.05.002
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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