This is the first time the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has made a final recommendation on screening for anxiety disorder in adults. The task force did not find sufficient evidence to recommend screening for anxiety in adults 65 and older.
The task force continues to recommend that all adults be screened for depression, including those who are pregnant or postpartum, as well as older adults.
Underdetection of anxiety appears to be common, the task force noted. Only 11% of U.S. adults with an anxiety disorder started treatment within the first year of symptoms. One study of 965 primary care patients found only 41% of those with an anxiety disorder were receiving treatment for the disorder.
Dr. Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association, who was not involved in the new recommendations, told CNN that once the new screening recommendations are put into practice, the results may reveal that anxiety disorders are much more common than previously thought.