By Kelly Young
NEJM Journal Watch
Edited by David G. Fairchild, MD, MPH, and Jaye Elizabeth Hefner, MD
The Women’s Preventive Services Initiative recommends that clinicians screen women and adolescent girls ages 13 and up for anxiety. The guideline is published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
The recommendation applies to females without a diagnosis of anxiety disorder and includes women who are pregnant or postpartum. Screening instruments characterized as having “moderate to high accuracy” include the Generalized Anxiety Disorder scale for adults, the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale for pregnant and postpartum women, and the Screen for Child Anxiety Related Emotional Disorders for adolescents.
Because anxiety frequently co-occurs with depressive disorders, clinicians can consider also screening for depression at the same time.
Editorialists note that the guidance does not specify at what threshold the scores merit further screening or other details such as screening frequency. “Clearer directives for how to approach screening would promote uptake of the guidelines in real-world clinical settings,” they write.