Anxiety is a common condition that affects millions of people. It can cause individuals to feel anxious, nervous, and tense. Anxiety can also manifest itself in physical symptoms such as muscle tension and stomach upset. Many people try to keep their anxiety hidden because they’re afraid of being judged or rejected by others if they reveal their mental health struggles. Unfortunately, this means that many people who are suffering from anxiety go without treatment because they don’t want anyone else to know about it — and that’s not good for anyone. That’s why it’s important to find ways to reach out and offer anxiety screening services in your office so more people can get appropriate treatment for their anxiety issues.
Anxiety is, in fact, a mental health disorder that can be caused by many things. Genetics and environmental factors are both contributing factors when it comes to developing this condition. This can make it difficult to diagnose because symptoms may appear differently from person to person. For example, someone struggling with anxiety might experience physical symptoms such as rapid heartbeat or difficulty breathing. Another person might suffer from frequent panic attacks and feelings of dread without any outward signs at all.
The differences between these two individuals are what makes anxiety so difficult for physicians and other medical professionals to pinpoint in patients. While the former has physical symptoms that make the disorder easy enough for doctors to identify or rule out. The latter’s only indication may be behavioral changes like isolating oneself from others or experiencing episodes of intense fear during seemingly normal situations like walking down an empty street.
Patients often go without treatment because they feel ashamed to reveal their anxiety. They may not understand the significance of their anxiety, or where to go for help. Patients who do not realize there are treatments available may be unaware of the treatment options available and thus fail to seek treatment.
A doctor may be the first person to notice signs of anxiety, especially if people have seen him or her more recently than a pharmacist. If the physician does not discuss screening for anxiety, ask about it.
Pharmacists are also well-trained in identifying signs of mental health problems and can be great resources for those who prefer not to speak with their doctor.
The local health department and mental health organizations provide free access to screenings and counseling services, which can help give people the tools they need in their struggle against anxiety disorders.
Hospitals and clinics may offer similar services as well as medication management programs that provide tools for managing symptoms without access to healthcare providers or insurance coverage.
School districts typically offer screenings during annual physicals or when issues arise during school hours, but they could also help identify children who may benefit from additional support at home or who perhaps need a referral.
Some patients may not feel comfortable talking about their anxiety symptoms, so it’s important to be proactive and ask the right questions. A good place to start is by asking about stressors in their lives and how they cope with them. In addition, people should inquire about sleep habits, diet, and exercise habits.
- Doctors should ask patients if they have experienced any of the following:
- Failing to complete tasks because of constant worrying or fear of failure
- Feeling overwhelmed by everyday tasks or responsibilities
- Having difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep due to racing thoughts that are unrelated to what is causing insomnia. For example, not being able to stop thinking about a friend who recently passed away.
Routine screening for anxiety could help more people get appropriate treatment. The American Psychiatric Association suggests that all adults over 18 should be screened for mental health problems at least once every two years, and this is especially important if there are warning signs such as substance abuse or suicide attempts.
Many people who suffer from anxiety disorders don’t seek treatment because they’re embarrassed and afraid of being labeled with a disorder, but routine screenings can help make them feel more comfortable talking about their symptoms with their doctor.
If anyone is concerned about their own or someone else’s anxiety, please do not hesitate to seek help. There are many resources available to educate oneself and others on how to manage anxiety. If the symptoms persist, seeking treatment from a licensed professional will allow people to get better.
Written by Sheena Robertson
WebMD: Anxiety Disorder
Mind: Anxiety and panic attacks
Health: How to Talk About Anxiety