The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, an independent panel of health care experts, is recommending that adults under 65 get screened for anxiety.
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S. They affect 40 million U.S. adults, or about 20% of the adult population every year.
Yet, they often go undiagnosed and untreated.
“I think we live in a society where a lot of people experience anxiety as the norm: people that are kind of used to worrying about things all the time or being afraid about things all the time and are used to being able to function with a significant amount of baseline anxiety,” says Inger Burnett-Zeigler, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine.
Burnett-Zeigler says that screening for anxiety is important because it helps people realize they can get relief from their symptoms with treatment, which means that they can better function in their day-to-day lives.