TUESDAY, Sept. 20, 2022 (HealthDay News) — What does it mean to publicly admit that anxiety disorders raged during the pandemic, an influential group of experts recommending for the first time, all American adults under the age of 65 are being screened for this disease.
“Covid has severely damaged the mental health of Americans,” said Laurie Pbert, a clinical psychologist and professor at the University of Massachusetts Chan School of Medicine. Washington Post. “This topic is a priority because of its importance to public health, but it’s clear that mental health has received more attention in this country over the last few years.”
A similar recommendation was issued for people ages 8 to 18 in April by the same group, the US Preventive Services Task Force.
The task force did not recommend screening for older adults age 65 and older, but that’s because anxiety symptoms and symptoms of aging can often overlap, so it was less clear whether anxiety treatment is needed at this age.
While the recommendation comes at a time of great need, with anxiety and depression rising by 25% in the first year of the pandemic, respectively The World Health Organization (WHO) – it would also be difficult to meet the needs of all those who may be diagnosed with anxiety.
Experts have raised concerns about increasing the number of screenings without more funding being allocated to care for those who need help.
“Screening is great, but because of the dire workforce shortage, it’s disconcerting if there are no plans to increase funding for clinicians,” said Eugene Berasin, a psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and executive director of the Clay Center for Young, Healthy Souls. Message.
Even the screening process itself can become a challenge: Primary care physicians already have to monitor cervical, colon, and breast cancer screenings, as well as food insecurity, domestic violence, alcohol and tobacco use, and chronic health problems.
The task force itself noted that less than “half of people experiencing mental illness will receive mental health care.”
Despite an increase in the number of diagnoses of anxiety and depression worldwide in 2021, “the situation has improved somewhat, but today too many people cannot get the care and support they need for both existing and new mental health conditions,” WHO said earlier this year.
Anxiety can manifest itself in various forms, including generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder and panic disorder. It affects 40 million US adults each year, respectively to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.
Symptoms can include feelings of anxiety and fear, as well as physical symptoms such as a racing heart and sweaty palms.
It is also undertreated, with the average time to start treatment averaging about 23 years, according to one study cited by the task force.
“After 2020, it’s the rare patient who doesn’t feel anxious,” said Mahmoud Qureshi, an internal medicine physician at Massachusetts General Hospital. Message.
The task force previously recommended screening for depression. It states that clinicians should use their judgment when screening for anxiety in older patients.
The group backed down from recommending screening for suicide risk, saying there was “insufficient evidence to determine whether screening people without signs or symptoms ultimately helps prevent suicide.”
The commission also cited “racism and structural policies” that disproportionately affect people of color. Misdiagnosis of mental illness is more common among black and Hispanic patients, while black patients are less likely to receive mental health services.
“We hope that this set of recommendations can raise awareness of the need to create greater access to psychiatric care across the country,” Pbert said, and highlight “gaps in the evidence so that funders can support critically needed research in this area.” districts”.
The task force is an an independent panel of experts designated by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. The public can comment on the proposed guideline until Oct. 17 before final approval.
The US National Institute of Mental Health had more to say anxiety disorders.
SOURCE: Washington Post