The Medical News

The Medical News

Anxiety disorders are the most common type of psychiatric illness, yet researchers know very little about factors associated with recovery. A new University of Toronto study investigated three levels of recovery in a large, representative sample of more than 2,000 Canadians with a history of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). The study reports that 72% of Canadians with a history of GAD have been free of the mental health condition for at least one year. Overall, 40% were in a state of excellent mental health, and almost 60% had no other mental illness or addiction issues, such as suicidal thoughts, substance dependence, a major depressive disorder or a bipolar disorder, in the past year, The definition of excellent mental health sets a very high bar. To be defined in excellent mental health, respondents had to achieve three things: 1) almost daily happiness or life satisfaction in the past month, 2) high levels of social and psychological well-being in the past month, and 3) freedom from generalized anxiety disorder and depressive disorders, suicidal thoughts and substance dependence for at least the preceding full year. We were so encouraged to learn that even among those whose anxiety disorders had lasted a decade or longer, half had been in remission from GAD for the past year and one-quarter had achieved excellent mental health and well-being. This research provides a very hopeful message for individuals struggling with anxiety, their families and health professionals. Our findings suggest that full recovery is possible, even among those who have suffered for many years with the disorder." Esme Fuller-Thomson, lead author of the study. Fuller-Thomson is Director of the University of Toronto's Institute for Life Course and Aging and Professor at the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work and the Department of Family & Community Medicine Related Stories



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