OBJECTIVE: Hypertension management requires detection (i.e. confirmation of persistently high blood pressure (BP) after an initial elevated measurement) and recognition of the condition (evidenced by a formal diagnosis and/or initiation of treatment). Our objective was to determine whether disparities exist in detection of elevated BP and recognition (i.e. diagnosis or treatment) of hypertension in patients with depression and anxiety. METHODS: Using data from the Cardiovascular Research Network Hypertension Registry, we assessed time-to-detection of elevated BP and recognition of hypertension in patients with comorbid anxiety and depression compared with patients with neither disorder. We performed multivariable survival analysis of time to detection and recognition in patients who entered the registry in 2002-2006. We adjusted for primary care visit rate and other relevant clinical factors. RESULTS: In 168,630 incident hypertension patients, detection occurred earlier among patients with anxiety and depression compared with patients without these diagnoses [adjusted hazard ratio for anxiety and depression 1.30, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.26-1.35]. Recognition of hypertension within 12 months of the second elevated BP was similar (adjusted hazard ratio for anxiety and depression 0.94, 95% CI 0.89-1.00) or delayed (adjusted hazard ratio for anxiety 0.93, 95% CI 0.88-0.99 and for depression 0.93, 95% CI 0.90-0.97). CONCLUSIONS: Detection of elevated BP occurred earlier in patients with anxiety and depression. Time from detection to diagnosis or treatment was similar or delayed in patients with and without these diagnoses. Our findings suggest that as-yet-unidentified factors contribute to disparities in hypertension detection and recognition.