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Federal panel recommends anxiety screenings to better assess mental health needs

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force is now backing the idea that doctors regularly screen all adults under 65 for anxiety.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — We may all think of an annual physical to check our health and well being but perhaps a mental health assessment should be in the mix as well for all of us. That is the opinion of a health guidelines group, which helps to develop programs for medical care. 

Just about everybody goes through periods of great anxiety in our lives. But how you deal with it to cope or get help if needed is extremely important for our mental health and general well being. 

So that's why a panel called the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force is now recommending the idea that doctors regularly screen all adults under 65 for anxiety, which can cause symptoms like panic attacks, heart palpitations, phobias. or just the feeling that you are always on edge. 

Experts note that anxiety disorders affect about 40 percent of women at some point in their lives and over one in four men as well. 

Melinda DuBois of the Western New York Mental Health Advocates organization said: "When you do screenings like this, when primary care doctors do screenings like this, to really have the opportunity to have earlier intervention and prevention. Because there's so many people that are living with anxiety right now. We've seen those numbers really surge, and not everybody is getting the treatment that they need, so if you ask these questions early, if you screen people more often, you're able to treat people quicker."

Obviously the pandemic contributed to a lot of anxiety issues but also now we see political and social upheaval as constantly played out on social media and of course economic insecurity as well which can intensify it.    

If you're not able to get in to see a physician right away or perhaps a counselor, mental health therapist or  psychologist or psychiatrist, the Western New York Mental Health Advocacy organization can help. They even have an online but confidential anxiety screening tool you can use as well.   

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