Principles of anxiety management for family physicians


  • Diane McIntosh, MD University of British Columbia



Family practitioners (FPs) play an essential role in mental healthcare delivery, providing triage, diagnosis, patient referral, and treatment. They are usually are patient’s first—and often their only—contact with mental healthcare services, due to the lack of access to psychiatric care. As such, FPs are commonly tasked with collecting and evaluating a broad range of symptoms that can be categorized as anxiety. The symptoms of anxiety have become increasingly ubiquitous, particularly due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, leading many front-line providers to understandably feel anxious concerning optimal methods to assess and support these patients.

This article provides clinical pearls, supported by current empirical research, for assessing, diagnosing and treating patients presenting with anxiety.

Author Biography

Diane McIntosh, MD, University of British Columbia

Dr. Diane McIntosh is a widely respected psychiatrist, author, educator, mental health advocate, and authority on the diagnosis and treatment of mood and anxiety disorders. In addition to over 20 years of direct experience providing psychiatric care to patients, Dr. McIntosh’s career-long focus has been on improving access to mental health knowledge and expertise through technology and education. She co-founded SwitchRx, an online psychotropic switching tool used by over 75,000 healthcare professionals worldwide, and PsychedUp, a continuing medical education program developed to encourage appropriate and rational prescribing of psychiatric medications. She is the author of bestseller This is Depression, a comprehensive and evidence-based guide to one of the most common and debilitating disorders.


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How to Cite

McIntosh D. Principles of anxiety management for family physicians. Can Prim Care Today [Internet]. 2023 Jun. 14 [cited 2024 Jul. 19];1(2):23–28. Available from: