The Use of Ambulatory Services by Persons With and Without Phobia

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The delivery of ambulatory mental health and general health services to persons with phobias (unweighted n=1,689) and without phobias during a 6-month period are examined. The phobics were part of a larger study of 18,572 subjects, drawn as a representative sample of the population in five locations, as part of the Epidemiologic Catchment Area Program (ECA). Among phobic conditions, agoraphobia most often leads to use of services related to emotional problems, especially in the specialty mental health sector. There were no significant differences between male and female subjects in their use of the various sectors for a mental health reason. The highest age group of agoraphobics that used health services most often was 25-44 years old, and the group that used them least often was 65 years and older. Agoraphobics with four or more symptoms of panic use services in higher proportions than agoraphobics with zero to three panic symptoms. The authors observe that a very large proportion of phobics report seeking no help from any source.

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