The poet W. H. Auden called our times “the age of anxiety,” and now medical science is agreeing with him.
On Sept. 20, a panel of medical experts recommended all adults under the age of 65 get annual screenings for anxiety along with their regular medical checkups.
The panel, called the United States Preventive Services Task Force, provides evidence-based recommendations to the medical community and federal agencies on the prevention of disease. The task force has previously recommended screening all adults for depression and suicide risk.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), anxiety disorders are the most common mental health issue in the United States.
The problem has gotten much worse during the COVID pandemic, when social isolation and illness and death have affected millions of households.
One CDC report found between August 2020 and February 2021, the percentage of adults with recent symptoms of an anxiety or a depressive disorder increased from 36.4 percent to 41.5 percent.
If left untreated, anxiety disorders can lead to self-harm and other health issues. Untreated anxiety “has real ramifications for a person’s ability to stay engaged in their family, with friends, with work and career development, all of this,” said Gail Saltz, M.D., a clinical associate professor of psychiatry at New York- Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical College.
Untreated anxiety also can lead to clinical depression and affect everything from blood pressure to peptic ulcer disease to chronic pain disorders, Saltz said.
If you believe you or a family member might suffer from excessive anxiety, contact UFCW 8-Golden State or one of the mental health resources listed below.
UFCW 8-Golden State Winter 2022-2023 Voice of Action Newsletter