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In the midst of the mental health crisis, a new recommendation recommends screening adults for anxiety

In the midst of the mental health crisis, a new recommendation recommends screening adults for anxiety

A gathering whose suggestions have become the standard clinical strategy across the country has made a proposal saying all adults younger than 65 ought to be evaluated for tension during their lifetime.

Tuesday's recommendation from the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force is the final version of the previous year's draft. Although doctors are not required to follow the newly issued recommendation, the task force carries a lot of weight in the medical community, and its recommendations frequently alter how doctors practice medicine.

During the patient's subsequent visit to the doctor, the recommendation suggests that doctors screen for anxiety any patient who has never been screened before. This could occur during an appointment with a primary care physician, an OB-GYN, or another general practitioner.

It asks doctors to use standardized anxiety screenings like the ones that already exist, like questionnaires, to see if their patients might have some of the symptoms of anxiety. Anxiety screening results should be referred to a mental health professional for diagnosis and treatment confirmation.

The task force recommended screening for anxiety in children aged 8 to 17 the previous year. All Americans between the ages of 8 and 64 should be screened for anxiety under this new guidance.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, studies conducted prior to the coronavirus pandemic suggested that approximately one in five adults were living with an anxiety disorder. This recommendation comes amid growing recognition of anxiety disorders in the United States.

Anxiety is the feeling a person gets when they are afraid of something bad happening. It can cause things like avoidance, panic attacks, worrying too much, and other symptoms. Anxiety can affect anyone at any time, but the National Institute of Mental Health says that an anxiety disorder can occur when anxiety becomes so overwhelming that it constantly affects daily life.

According to Lori Pbert, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist and professor at the University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School who serves on the task force, the new recommendation is meant to assist in preventing mental health conditions from going unnoticed.

Pbert stated to ABC News last year, "What we found was that screening for anxiety in adults younger than 65, including pregnant and postpartum women, can help identify anxiety early so people can be connected to the care they need." This recommendation is just for people who don't have a mental health diagnosis and don't show signs or symptoms of an anxiety disorder.

The task force recommends that anyone experiencing anxiety symptoms seek screening right away rather than waiting until their next primary care visit.

Information regarding anxiety disorders

Anxiety, like the majority of mental health conditions, is a spectrum with varying degrees of severity.

Anxiety disorders can be broken down into four categories:

  • According to the OWH, a person with generalized anxiety disorder, or GAD, worries "excessively about ordinary, day-to-day issues, such as health, money, work, and family." According to the Office on Women's Health, women with GAD may experience physical symptoms related to stress, such as difficulty sleeping or stomachaches, as well as anxiety about just getting through the day.
  • The Office on Women's Health defines panic attacks as "sudden attacks of terror when there is no actual danger," and panic disorder is twice as common in women as in men. Panic attacks can make people feel like they're going to die, have a heart attack, or lose their minds.
  • According to the Office on Women's Health, a third type of anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, is diagnosed when individuals "become very anxious and self-conscious in everyday social situations," including easily embarrassing situations. Social situations can frequently trigger panic attacks in people with social anxiety disorder.
  • According to the Office on Women's Health, the fourth kind of disorder, specific phobia, is a severe fear of things like heights, water, animals, or specific situations that have "little or no actual danger."

According to the Office on Women's Health, while the symptoms of each type of anxiety disorder may vary, they all involve "fear and dread about things that may happen now or in the future."

Counseling and medication are frequently used in conjunction as part of a treatment plan for anxiety disorders.

According to the Office on Women's Health, cognitive behavioral therapy is often used in counseling to help people change their thinking about their fears. When it comes to medication, a prescription drug that is frequently taken on a daily basis to treat and prevent future episodes of anxiety over the long term is different from an addictive drug like Xanax or Valium that is only used to treat acute anxiety on occasion.

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, a division of the National Institutes of Health, says that mindfulness, physical activity, and nutrition can also help with anxiety, but little is known about how they treat anxiety disorders.

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