Would you be surprised to hear that anxiety is the most common mental illness in the United States, afflicting nearly 20 percent of the population, according to the Anxiety & Depression Association of America?
While anxiety disorders are highly treatable, just over one-third of sufferers seek help.
To that end, the U.S. Preventative Series Task Force, a group of independent medical experts, now recommends screenings adults ages 18 to 64 for anxiety—including during pregnancy and the postpartum period. This is the first time the organization has recommended anxiety screenings.
“We know that anxiety and depression were on the rise during the pandemic and that many adults continue to struggle with one or both,” said Nurse Practitioner Elise Pesch. “The good news is that treatment for anxiety can be really effective and beneficial. If you see more questions about mood and anxiety during your next annual visit, you’ll know why, and if you are struggling, please reach out.”
With the new recommendations, the U.S. Preventative Series Task Force noted that “we have not been treating mental health at the same level as physical health” and that there is a great need for more robust screenings. In fact, the median time to initiating treatment was a full 23 years, according to their research.
Anxiety can develop based on genetics, brain chemistry, life events, personality and more. While the disorders are different, anxiety and depression are often linked. Under the umbrella of anxiety are generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, specific phobias, excess stress, obsessive-compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. Treatment can include therapy, medication, relaxation and mindfulness techniques, exercise, support groups and more.
“Anxiety can range from an occasional pit in your stomach to full-blown panic attacks, so finding the right help and treatment can make all the difference in the world,” Pesch added. “And if you’re a parent of a teen or young adult, we are also seeing more anxiety in this demographic. You can help them by reaching out, talking, and ensuring they get the love and resources they need during what’s already a challenging time of life.”