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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 54 (2012) 11, 935 - 940

Short report

The characterisation of anxiety disorders: staging and profiling based on common sense

A.J.L.M. van Balkom, D.B. Oosterbaan, N. Batelaan, D.C. Cath, G.-J. Hendriks, H.J.G.M. van Megen, K. Schruers, J. Spijker, N. van der Wee, I.M. van Vliet

Summary
background Clinicians need to be well informed about staging and profiling so that they can divide patients with anxiety disorders into groups according to the phase and severity of their illness. The group to which the patient is assigned determines the types of treatment he or she receives.
aim To investigate ways in which clinicians can be helped to apply staging and profiling procedures to patients with anxiety disorders.
method We searched the literature for articles about the staging and profiling of anxiety disorders.
results There seems to be practically no literature relating to the staging and profiling of anxiety disorders. However, in daily practice clinicians do attempt to classify their patients and use forms of staging when deciding on special types of treatment for their patients and when assessing the length of treatment required. The revised Dutch guidelines on anxiety disorders include a generalised form of staging, called ‘stepped care’. These revisions have been made on the basis of consensus decisions reached by the guideline committee.
conclusion The revised guidelines on anxiety disorders assist clinicians with the application of staging in their daily practice. However, because of the lack of scientific data, our article closes with the presentation of a research agenda.

keywords anxiety disorders, profiling, staging