All persons under the age of 65 should get lifetime anxiety screenings, according to a panel whose recommendations have pretty much become the national norm for medical practice.
The finalized version of the draft report that the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force released last year is the recommendation that was released on Tuesday.
Although the recently released proposal is not required for physicians, the task force is extremely influential in the medical field and its recommendations frequently alter how physicians practice medicine.
The recommendation advises doctors to check for anxiety during a patient’s subsequent appointment if they have never been checked previously.
This could occur at a primary care visit, an OB-GYN visit, or at any other general practitioner’s appointment.
It urges doctors to utilize established questionnaires or other standardized anxiety screening tools to determine whether patients may be displaying certain anxiety-related symptoms.
Anyone who tests anxious should be directed to a mental health expert for confirmation of their diagnosis and treatment.
The task panel recommended screening for anxiety in kids 8-17 years old last year.
All Americans between the ages of 8 and 64 should now be checked for anxiety as a result of the implementation of this new advice.
The proposal comes as anxiety disorders are becoming more widely recognized in the United States.
As per the National Alliance on Mental Illness, research done before the coronavirus epidemic revealed that around 1 in 5 individuals were suffering from an anxiety problem.
When one is afraid of something unpleasant happening, they experience anxiety, which can result in avoidance, panic attacks, excessive worrying, and other similar symptoms.
Anyone can experience worry from time to time, but the National Institute of Mental Health notes that when anxiety persistently interferes with everyday living and becomes overwhelming, it may be an anxiety disorder.
According to task force member Lori Pbert, who is a clinical psychologist, the new guideline aims to prevent mental health disorders from going undiagnosed.
Last year, Pbert shared via ABC News that “What we learned was that screening for anxiety in adults under the age of 65, including people who are pregnant and postpartum, can aid in identifying anxiety early so people can be connected to the care they need. This recommendation is specifically for people who don’t have a mental health diagnosis and aren’t showing recognized signs or symptoms of anxiety disorder.”
According to the task group, anyone exhibiting signs of anxiety should get screened right away rather than waiting until their next appointment with their primary care provider.
Anxiety is a spectrum disorder, like other mental health issues, with varying degrees of severity.
Anxiety disorders mostly come in four different forms.
According to the OWH, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is characterized as worrying “excessively about common, everyday matters, such as health, money, job, and family.”
According to the Office on Women’s Health, women with GAD may have physical signs of stress, such as difficulties sleeping or stomachaches, as well as difficulty doing daily duties.
People with panic disorder, which is almost twice as frequent in women as it is in men, may experience panic attacks, which are “sudden bouts of terror when there is no apparent risk,” according to the Office on Women’s Health.
People who are experiencing panic attacks could believe they are dying, suffering a heart attack, or going insane.
According to the Office on Women’s Health, social anxiety disorder, a third form of anxiety disorder, is diagnosed when a person “becomes excessively uncomfortable and self-conscious in daily social situations,” including easily humiliating themselves.
Around social circumstances, people with social anxiety disorder frequently experience the symptoms of panic attacks.
According to the Office on Women’s Health, the fourth type, phobia, is a strong dread of something, such as heights, animals, water or specific situations that provide “little or no real danger.”
The Office on Women’s Health says that each form of anxiety disorder might have a different set of symptoms, but they always contain “fear and dread about things that may happen now or in the future.”
Counseling and medicine are frequently used in conjunction to treat anxiety disorders, and the combination of the two is frequently the most successful.
According to the Office on Women’s Health, cognitive behavioral therapy is frequently utilized in counseling to assist people in changing their thought patterns around their anxieties.
When it comes to medicine, a prescription drug that is frequently used daily over the long term to treat and prevent anxiety episodes differs from a drug like Xanax or Valium which is only occasionally used to treat severe anxiety since they can cause addiction.
According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, other factors including exercise, diet, and mindfulness can also help people manage their anxiety, while little is known about how they might help people cure anxiety disorders.