HealthMental Health


Adults should be screened for anxiety disorders, experts say

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force says anxiety disorders are often "unrecognized in primary care settings," causing a delay in care.
A book about generalized anxiety disorder.
Posted at 11:06 AM, Jun 21, 2023

Medical professionals should be screening adults younger than 65 for anxiety disorders, according to a new recommendation from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. 

In an article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the task force says anxiety disorders are often "unrecognized in primary care settings," which can cause a delay in care. 

"Screening adults younger than 65 for anxiety disorders is effective in identifying these conditions so adults can receive the care they need," said task force vice chair Michael Silverstein.

A survey cited by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that over 15% of adults reported experiencing symptoms of anxiety that were either mild, moderate or severe. 

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The same survey found adults 65 and older were less likely than younger adults to have symptoms of anxiety. It's one of the reasons the task force isn't recommending routine anxiety screenings for older adults.

However, experts are calling for more research in the area. 

“The Task Force deeply cares about the mental health of people nationwide and hopes that future research can help us provide healthcare professionals with evidence-based ways to keep their patients healthy," task force member Gbenga Ogedegbe said. 

Anxiety disorders, often linked with depression, can be life-altering and cause people to withdraw from normal daily activities. 

There are various forms of treatments, including different types of therapy and medications.

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