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December 2023

Why Screen for Anxiety?

It’s normal to worry about your family, health, or finances sometimes. And in the short term, having some anxiety isn’t bad. It can help you focus and cope during stressful situations.

But for about 20% of adults and 8% of children, anxiety gets out of hand. Fear, dread, or other symptoms can interfere with everyday life. When this happens, it could mean that you have an anxiety disorder.

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health condition. They are so widespread that health experts now recommend screening for them in adults and kids ages 8 and older. That way, more people will get the help they need.

What are anxiety disorders?

Anxiety disorders occur when the brain’s response to threats goes into overdrive. This may be due to a mix of genetics, hormones, and life events, such as stress or trauma. Symptoms include:

  • Anxious thoughts that are hard to control

  • Behavior changes, such as avoiding certain activities

  • Physical signs, including rapid heartbeat, dizziness, or nausea

If left untreated, anxiety disorders can worsen. Eventually, they cause problems at work, school, or in relationships.

Screening can be the first step to finding help

Treatment can ease anxiety’s grip and make daily life easier. However, some people with signs of an anxiety disorder don’t recognize them or don’t seek help. That’s where screening comes in.

When you’re screened for anxiety, your healthcare provider will ask questions about your feelings, mood, and other symptoms. Screening tests for kids and teens have different questions. Parents may also be asked about their children.

If you or your child has an anxiety disorder, your provider or a mental health professional can help with treatment. Options include talk therapy, medicine, or a combination of the two.

How can you manage anxiety?

Positive habits like regular exercise, deep breathing, and talking with friends and family may help keep stress in check.

However, reach out if coping strategies aren’t enough and symptoms worsen. Help is available—and treatment works.









Date Last Reviewed: 9/1/2023
© 2000-2024 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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