MONDAY, April 8, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Adolescent and adult women, including those who are pregnant and postpartum, should be assessed for anxiety as a routine preventive health service, according to a draft recommendation statement published online April 1 by the Women’s Preventive Services Initiative (WPSI).

Noting that anxiety is more common in women than men and in adolescent girls than boys, the WPSI has released a draft recommendation on screening women for anxiety.

The optimal screening intervals are currently unknown, and therefore, physicians should use their clinical judgement to determine when screening for anxiety is warranted. Clinicians should consider screening women who have not recently been screened. Clinicians may consider screening for anxiety in conjunction with depression because of the frequent co-occurrence of these disorders. Validated instruments that screen for anxiety and depression simultaneously may be clinically efficient in practice settings. Although studies have not yet evaluated the benefits and harms of population screening for anxiety, trials support the effectiveness of managing anxiety among patients with clinically diagnosed anxiety. The recommendation is available for public comment until May 1, 2019.

“By screening, we’re looking to identify patients who’ve not otherwise come to attention for their anxiety,” James Stevermer, M.D., a member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, said in a statement. “What proportion of these women will benefit from diagnosis and treatment for anxiety? What proportion could be harmed, for example by overdiagnosis, labeling, or an adverse effect of therapy?”

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