Prevalence estimates of GAD vary considerably with the diagnostic criteria used. For example, in one study, the prevalence of GAD among women was 11.5 per cent using DSM-III criteria but only 2.4 per cent when the duration requirement was increased to 6 months.(8) Other studies have found two- to fourfold higher prevalence rates using ICD-10 criteria than using DSM-IIIR criteria. (9,19

In the American-based Epidemiologic Catchment Area Study, which used DSM-III criteria, the 12-month prevalence of GAD in a community sample was 3.8 per cent/11 A surprisingly similar rate (3.1 per cent) was found in the National Comorbidity Survey, using DSM-IIIR criteria. (12> The lifetime prevalence in the National Comorbidity Survey was 5.1 per cent using DSM-IIIR criteria and 8.9 per cent using ICD-10 criteria. (!9 In both studies, GAD was more common among women than men. Estimates of GAD among patients presenting to primary care clinics are about three times higher than the general population figures, probably reflecting increased utilization of health care services by individuals with GAD. (1 i4)

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