Aim To describe the direct and indirect costs for people with anxiety and depressive disorders where guidelines are adhered to and patients’ perceived needs are fully met. Method Data were derived from the Netherlands Study of Depression and Anxiety. At baseline, adult patients were interviewed and they completed questionnaires to measure DSM-IV diagnoses, socio-demographic characteristics and perceived need for care. Actual care data were also derived from electronic medical records. Criteria for guideline adherence were based on general practice guidelines, issued by the Dutch College of General Practitioners. Direct and indirect costs were inferred from the Perceived Need for Care Questionnaire administered at baseline, and the Trimbos and iMTA questionnaire on Costs associated with Psychiatric illness administered at 1-year follow-up. Results For 568 patients with a current anxiety or depressive disorder a complete dataset on health care use and absenteeism was available. Guideline adherence was significantly associated with increased care use and corresponding costs, while fully met perceived need was unrelated to costs. Socio-demographic characteristics, severity of symptoms and guideline adherence all affected the societal costs of patients with fully met perceived needs compared with patients with perceived unmet needs. Conclusion It appears that guideline-concordant care for anxiety and depression costs more than non-concordant care, while care that has fulfilled all of a patient’s needs seems not to be more expensive than care that has not met all perceived needs. However, randomized controlled trials should first confirm this conclusion
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