Anxiety screenings could become a routine part of healthcare

US Task Force on Preventive Services recommends regular anxiety screenings for adults under 65

With the increase in the percentage of people suffering from mental health problems, it is becoming clear that there needs to be a better way to identify patients who are suffering and get them help earlier, before what causes them. disturbs from becoming a real mental health crisis. .

As such, the US Task Force on Preventive Services, a voluntary group of national experts in disease prevention and evidence-based medicine, now recommends that these screenings become the standard of care going forward.

“The U.S. Task Force on Preventive Services invites input on a draft recommendation statement and draft evidence review on screening adults for anxiety. The task force has determined that screening can help to identify anxiety in adults under 65, including those who are pregnant and postpartum,” the group wrote on Tuesday.

This follows a statement from the US Task Force on Preventive Services made in April, in which it recommended the same for children 8 and older.

The reason given for not recommending regular screenings for anxiety in adults over 65 at this time is that “more research is needed to recommend whether or not to recommend screening for anxiety” in this age group. .

The draft recommendation statement and draft evidence review are available for public review and comment until October 17.

Established in 1984, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force is made up of members from the fields of preventive medicine and primary care, including internal medicine, family medicine, pediatrics, behavioral health, obstetrics and gynecology and nursing. Their recommendations are intended to help primary care clinicians and patients decide together whether a preventive service is appropriate for a patient’s needs, and the task force presents an annual report to Congress that identifies evidence gaps in the research related to preventive clinical services and recommends priority areas that merit further investigation.

The group’s statement does not go into further detail on what these screenings might look like, how they would be administered or who would administer them, although they would presumably be part of regular primary health check-ups, through the use of the GAD-Sept.

This comes as the primary care physician-patient relationship evolves and fewer people develop a long-term relationship with a primary care physician: More than 70% of Americans had a primary care physician in 2002 vs. 64% in 2015. If there is no longer a need for a primary care physician, who will be the gateway to a person’s health care journey?

This is especially true for young people: while 84% of baby boomers have a primary care physician, this is the case for 67% of millennials and only 55% of Gen Zers.

Mental health issues were already on the rise before COVID, with almost 20% of adults, or almost 50 million Americans, already suffering from some form of mental illness, and there was already a growing problem among young people too with more than 1 in 3 high school students experiencing lingering feelings of sadness or hopelessness in 2019, a 40% increase in 10 years. During the same period, there was a 44% increase in the number of young people who reported having made a suicide plan.

The pandemic and its aftermath have exacerbated the situation; according to the World Health Organization, the global prevalence of anxiety and depression increased by 25% in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. There has also been an increase in substance abuse problems with 99,000 people dying from drug overdoses in the first full year of the pandemic in the United States, an increase of almost 30% compared to the last year. Even cigarette sales increased in the first 10 months of 2020, after an annual decline of between 4% and 5% since 2015.

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(Image source: medlineplus.gov)

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