For the first time in America, recommendations for examining anxiety and depression in adults

Dima Al Daks

For the first time, the US Preventive Services Task Force recommends that adults under the age of 65 be screened for anxiety, in a draft recommendation released Tuesday.
The USPSTF includes a group of independent disease prevention experts and medical experts whose recommendations guide doctors’ decisions. This draft recommendation is not final, but is currently in the public comment stage.
Laurie Papert, a member of the US Preventive Services Task Force, told CNN that the committee found that “screening for anxiety in adults under the age of 65 can help identify anxiety early,” adding: ” So this is really interesting. “
The service group defines anxiety disorders as “characterized by a prolonged duration or an increased intensity of stress response from everyday events.” Recognized types include generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, and agoraphobia. The service team’s drafts also recommend screening for major depressive disorder in adults, according to the Depression Screening Recommendations published in 2016.
Papert, a clinical psychologist and professor at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, said the anxiety screening recommendation was a priority “given its importance to public health, particularly with the growing focus on mental health in this country.” .
The COVID-19 pandemic triggered a new wave of anxiety and depression, although levels have dropped slightly since then. A new report released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Control (CDC) indicated that adults aged 18 to 44 were the lowest group to receive mental health care in 2019, but they have become the most likely to develop anxiety in 2021.
The anxiety screening recommendation applies to adults aged 19 and over who do not have a mental health disorder. Depression screening recommendations apply to people 18 years of age and older who do not have a mental health disorder and who do not show common signs of depression or suicide risk.
Papert pointed out that people who already have signs or symptoms should be evaluated and linked to treating these conditions.
Rapid screening tools for both anxiety and depression have been developed and are available for use in primary care centers. Most current screening tools include questionnaires and metrics.
The service team pointed out that any positive test result should lead to further evaluation to confirm it. It also indicated that there is little evidence regarding the optimal time and interval for screening and more evidence is needed.
And the US Preventive Services Task Force indicated that if data is lacking, a practical approach could include screening all adults who have not previously had them and using clinical judgment that takes into account other factors, such as health conditions. underlying health and life, to make decisions about whether there is additional screening for people at high risk.
The recommendations for screening for anxiety and depression are what the service team ranks “B”, which means that the doctor should provide the service because there is a “moderate net benefit”.
“There are lost opportunities in primary care practice, which is why we need research to understand what is the best way to select people who have no known signs or symptoms of suicide risk, so that we can identify and link them to a service center, “explained Papert.
Raise awareness of mental health
Papert found that screening for anxiety disorders is important given the lifetime prevalence of anxiety disorders in the United States, which the draft recommendation set at 26 percent for men and 40 percent for women.
“This is a common mental health problem,” he added, adding that “that’s why it’s so important for us to treat and detect anxiety disorders.”
Members of the Preventive Services Task Force also hope the recommendations will raise awareness of the need for mental health screening and treatment.
Papert also noted that the service team is very concerned about health equity.
The public will be able to comment on the draft recommendations until October 17.

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