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Various guidelines have been issued to doctors concerning the treatment of anxiety in primary care and particularly on the use of benzodiazepines. Little has been reported about how this advice has influenced doctors' opinions and practice. This paper describes results of interviews with 15 general practitioners and 15 general practitioner trainees on their management of anxiety problems. Most respondents admitted prescribing benzodiazepines for anxiety but reported doing so only in cases of severe distress and for short periods of time. Trainees appeared more cautious in their use of benzodiazepines than the experienced practitioners. Most doctors agreed that counselling could be as effective as benzodiazepines in treating moderate anxiety but several respondents felt it too demanding of their time. Two-thirds of doctors were in favour of employing counsellors in general practice though many foresaw practical difficulties in doing so. Increased availability of clinical psychology services was the development which most respondents felt would improve their management of anxiety problems in primary care.