A new health guide recommends that doctors screen all adults under 65 for anxiety following a surge in mental health problems linked to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Isolation and stress are just some of the side effects humans worldwide are experiencing following the COVID-19 pandemic. And because of that, the U.S. Preventative Task Force is suggesting physicians examine their patients under age 65 for signs of anxiety, NBC News reports.
According to Lori Pbert, a task force member and co-author of the new health guidelines, anxiety disorders are one of the most common health complaints, affecting about 40 percent of U.S. women and about 1 in 4 men.
“It’s a crisis in this country,” Dr. Pbert told The New York Times. “Our only hope is that our recommendations throw a spotlight on the need to create greater access to mental health care — and urgently.”
Some screening processes include a doctor asking patients various questions surrounding their fears and worries that get in the way of their day-to-day lives. The guideline doesn’t address how often a person should be screened but does specify that people should seek an examination from a mental health professional.
“The most important thing to recognize is that a screening test alone is not sufficient to diagnose anxiety,” said Pbert.
The proposal is open for public comment until Oct. 17, NBC News reports, but the Task Force usually affirms its draft guidance. “In an effort to maintain a high level of transparency in our methods, we open our Draft Recommendation Statement to a public comment period before we publish the final version,” the advisory group said on its website.