Will young people be adequately screened for depression and anxiety? Elizabeth Tracey reports
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The United States Preventive Services Task Force recently recommended screening US youth for anxiety and depression. Karen Swartz, an expert in these illnesses in young people, says screening isn’t just a matter of asking a few questions.
Swartz: What I worry about with screening is they’ll do, usually you have a couple of questions and if you’re positive what should happen is there is a proper evaluation, someone really takes time to ask about the symptoms in enough detail to differentiate I’m stressed versus I have a real anxiety disorder. Or a serious problem with anxiety, or I’m disappointed or demoralized or frustrated versus I have the kind of depression that’s a medical illness. Previous studies have shown that there are a number of false positives with these screens. :33
Swartz says screening merely raises the suspicion that a problem might exist, and this must be confirmed with a much more thorough evaluation by someone with expertise in this area. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.