The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (Task Force) now recommends that adults under the age of 65 get regularly screened for anxiety. It’s meant to help primary care clinicians identify early signs of anxiety, which can go undetected for years. This is the first time the agency has recommended anxiety screening in adult primary care without symptoms.
The Task Force noted that the lifetime prevalence of anxiety disorders in adults in the United States is 40.4% for women and 26.4% for men. The recommendation was prioritized due to anxiety’s public health influence and the country’s increased focus on mental health in recent years. The guidance stops short of recommending anxiety screening for people 65 and older since many common symptoms of aging—such as trouble sleeping, pain and fatigue—can also be symptoms of anxiety.
If you already show signs or symptoms of anxiety, contact your doctor to be assessed and connected to care. Anxiety screening tools, including scales and questionnaires, have been developed and are available in primary care.