Sep 22, 2022

Anxiety: Experts Say Don't Suffer in Silence

Anxiety: Experts Say Don't Suffer in Silence

Mary Schuermann Kuhlman

Expanded anxiety screenings could have a long-term positive impact on the health of Ohioans, according to mental-health experts.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force is proposing routine anxiety screening in primary care for adults younger than 64 without symptoms. According to the panel, 40% of women and 26% of men experience an anxiety disorder in their lifetime, often starting in childhood.

Dr. Raquel Halfond, senior director for evidence-based practice and health equity for the American Psychological Association, said it can impact all aspects of a person's life.

"Anxiety can have a significant impact on day-to-day functioning," Halfond explained. "Don't suffer in silence and get screened, bring this up with your doctor and get help. We know that anxiety treatment works."

According to the psychological association, anxiety is characterized by feelings of tension and worry, as well as intrusive thoughts or concerns. Halfond pointed out regular anxiety screenings in a medical setting could help normalize the conversation between doctor and patient, and early detention means people can get treatment sooner.

Halfond noted anxiety disorders can manifest in a number of physical symptoms.

"Higher blood pressure, increased sweating, dizziness," Halfond outlined. "And another thing we know is untreated mental health conditions can also complicate treatment for physical health conditions. So identifying the mental-health conditions earlier may also help with treatment for physical health conditions."

She added there is concern about a lack of mental-health providers, but is hopeful expanded screenings will increase awareness about the need for more mental-health professionals.

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