Anxiety in adults has been on the rise over the past years. From 2020 to 2021 alone, the number of anxiety cases has gone up by more than 5%. Much of this was due to a significant jump during COVID, but even independently of COVID, cases of anxiety – predominantly generalized anxiety disorder – have been on the rise.
In response, a government task force last month published a recommendation that all adults under 65 regularly receive anxiety screening during their annual preventative care. Although not required, if your doctor participates in this anxiety screening by providing a short questionnaire during your yearly checkups, it can help you identify anxiety symptoms and seek additional help to mitigate them.
How Anxiety Screening Can Change Treatment
Despite the fact that almost 20% of adults and 7% of young people experience an anxiety disorder each year, less than 40% of those people generally seek treatment. Much of this is due to the fact that people do not realize that what they are experiencing is a highly treatable anxiety disorder. Oftentimes, symptoms can come on slowly rr be mistaken for justified fear, making it difficult to realize that you have anxiety.
The US Preventive Services Task Force has studied the data on anxiety conditions and published this recommendation, currently in draft and expected to be finalized in the coming months. This solution was designed to address the increasing cases of anxiety in the country.
As a psychiatrist, Dr. Sehdev at Aware of Behavioral Health recognizes that while making anxiety treatment more widespread, there are still some things that patients should be aware of if they receive a positive diagnosis during screening:
- Anxiety Screening Can Help You Determine if You Have Anxiety – If been living with anxiety for an extended period, it may begin to feel normal. In addition, people can experience anxiety in different ways and you may not be sure if what you are experiencing is anxiety. Screening offers a standardized way to identify anxiety.
- A Screening is Not a Diagnosis or Treatment on its Own – An anxiety screening is a good reason to make an appointment with a psychiatrist to delve deeper into what you are experiencing and what the best course forward might be. However, it is not an automatic diagnosis and will not provide the necessary answers on its own.
- Screening for Helps Address the Stigma – Another reason that many people do not get the treatment they need for mental health conditions like anxiety is that there is a stigma in many communities. As people become more comfortable with the idea of anxiety as a normal health condition that is both common and treatable, that stigma can decrease.
At Aware Behavioral Health, one of our goals has always been to make getting the mental health care you need easier to do and reduce the stigma around it. We do this for all of the different mental health
conditions we treat by providing a judgment-free and encouraging space for you to address your concerns and be heard by an experienced psychiatrist. Get more information about our treatments for anxiety and other mental health conditions and contact our team at Aware Behavioral Health today.