CLEVELAND — Every year at a routine check-up, a health professional will look at things like your height, weight and blood pressure. This year, some girls and women can expect an anxiety screening at that checkup as well.
This year the Women's Preventive Services Initiative is recommending anxiety screenings in adolescent and adult women so that anxiety doesn't become a severe disorder. And, since it's part of a well-woman check-up, the service will be covered by insurance under the Affordable Care Act.
Dr. Susan Padrino, with University Hospitals, said anxiety disorder, besides interfering with your life, can also cause physical symptoms like headaches, stomach aches or pain.
"I think it's a very important acknowledgment that behavioral health is a critical part of functioning well, of wellness in general and of physical health, what we generally think of as physical health," she said. "It becomes a disorder when it starts to disrupt your regular functioning when it impacts your relationships when it impacts your schoolwork when it impacts your ability to function at work or as a parent for instance."
Dr. Padrino said screening adolescent girls will be a positive step in making a diagnosis sooner rather than later.
"We can teach, especially young people, skills to manage anxiety and manage the challenges in their lives and be successful instead of allowing the anxiety to grow and grow and grow and really become a barrier for success for them," she said.
Dr. Padrino also added, starting these screenings for women is especially important, since women have been disproportionately impacted by the stress of the pandemic. A report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed women lost one million more jobs than men in 2020.