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Post: Exploring Symptoms of Generalized and Mild Anxiety in U.S. Military Veterans

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Exploring Symptoms of Generalized and Mild Anxiety in U.S. Military Veterans

The following is a summary of “Generalized anxiety and mild anxiety symptoms in U.S. military veterans: Prevalence, characteristics, and functioning,” published in the March 2024 issue of Psychiatry by Macdonald-Gagnon et al.

There has been a scarcity of contemporary data on anxiety and worry, especially in high-risk populations like military veterans, which significantly impacts their daily life.

Researchers conducted a retrospective study to examine anxiety symptoms and functional correlates of anxiety symptoms among veterans.

They examined data from a vast, nationally representative sample of U.S. veterans to investigate the prevalence of probable Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and military-related factors linked to anxiety symptoms.

Results showed that approximately 7.9% (95% CI, 6.7-9.3%) of veterans screened positive for probable Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), with 22.1% (95% CI, 20.5-23.9%) showing mild anxiety symptoms. Those with anxiety symptoms tended to be younger, female, racial/ethnic minorities, and had multiple deployments. Anxiety severity correlated with mental health issues, suicidal thoughts, and functional impairment.

Investigators concluded that there is a significant prevalence of anxiety symptoms among U.S. veterans, with probable GAD and mild anxiety affecting around 3 in 10. While brief screeners have limitations, a dimensional approach is crucial for assessing anxiety and its clinical implications in this population.


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