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Anxiety screening recommended as part of routine check-ups in women and girls 13 years or older

Health experts agree untreated anxiety could cause negative impacts down the road.

ATLANTA — The Women’s Preventive Services Initiative- or WPSI- is now recommending women and girls over 13 have anxiety screenings included in their routine checkups with a primary care doctor or OB/GYN.

Screenings are considered preventive services, covered under the Affordable Care Act. 

These measures stress the importance of being proactive when it comes to talking about mental health. Mental health conditions can be as serious as physical health issues.

The WPSI found about 40 percent of women struggle with anxiety sometime in their life- twice as many as men. And despite its prevalence, only about 20 percent of people affected look for treatment.

Mental health has become a focus for many as the pandemic drags on.
Everyday routines have shifted drastically and that can cause anxiety, particularly in adolescents.

"For children and adolescents, if we catch or find the signs of anxiety early while there's no cure and you don't want to render medication if caught early very often, behavioral techniques, certain therapeutic treatments can actually help children and in this pandemic. I think they really bear the brunt with disruption of their schedule, you know a lot of their extracurricular activities have been taken away. And when you disrupt a child's schedule. It's a real burden for them," said Dr. Reddy, 

When it comes to teen anxiety, there are warning signs, for instance: seeing grades drop, difficulty sleeping, struggling with friendships, overeating or not eating enough, low self-esteem, panic attacks, and mood swings.

If left untreated, doctors say anxiety could impact teens’ grades, friendships, and can even lead to substance abuse down the road. Anxiety screenings playing an important role in staying on top of such issues.

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