The US Task Force recommends anxiety and depression screening for adults

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The US Preventive Services Task Force recommended anxiety and depression screenings for adults as Americans’ mental health problems rise.

The task force recommends that adults under the age of 65 be screened for anxiety. In the meantime, the depression guideline is recommended for all adults, including those who are pregnant and postpartum. The recommendation only applies to people who do not have any recognizable signs of these mental illnesses.

“To address the critical need for primary care adult mental health support, the task force reviewed the evidence on screening for anxiety, depression and suicide risk,” task force member Lori Pbert said in a statement. “The good news is that screening all adults for depression, including those who are pregnant and postpartum, and screening adults under 65 for anxiety can help identify these conditions early so that people living with the disease can care can be connected.”

Under the new guidelines, anxiety is classified into generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, separation anxiety disorder, phobias, and selective mutism. The task force says screenings and follow-up care help reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, but more research is being done on their importance in relation to suicide risk.

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The task force categorizes anxiety based on several elements, including generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, separation anxiety disorder, phobias, and selective mutism.
(Istock)

“The task force cares deeply about the mental health of people across the country. Unfortunately, the evidence on screening adults 65 and older for anxiety and screening all adults for suicide risk is limited, so we urgently call for more research,” said Gbenga Ogedegbe, MD, a member of the task force. “In the absence of evidence, healthcare professionals should use their judgment based on the individual circumstances of the patient when deciding whether or not to undergo screening.”

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The UTSF is made up of volunteer medical experts who seek to provide evidence-based recommendations that include screening, counseling, and preventative medication to improve Americans’ health. Task Force positions do not represent the official positions of the Department of Health and Human Services.

The proposal’s draft evidence review is open for public comment until October 17.

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