Why we should be screening adults for anxiety in New Jersey (Opinion)
There's a movement in the medical profession that everyone under the age of 65 should be screened for anxiety. I couldn't agree more, although I think that it should be done privately as opposed to having the government do it. That's all we need, especially since we all know how the New Jersey government is at things like this.
Screening for anxiety would go a long way as far as preventative medicine is concerned. If people understood why they were feeling a certain way, it could be dealt with before it could get to the point of addiction or perhaps suicide. Jim Sniechowski writes about this on Linkedin: "Identify the Problem Well and you get 50% of The Solution."
Kevin Meara is the founder of City Of Angels, which helps people deal with addiction regardless of insurance. Meara was one of the people who helped get Artie Lange into rehab. He spoke on my New Jersey 101.5 radio show.
"If you're talking about having our family physicians, we're more aware of mental health as the same thing with addictions. I'm in favor of it because mental health is probably farther behind than addictions, as far as our country is in treating it and being aware of it," he said.
"We saw by physicians not being trained with pain management and in addictions, what happened, how the opioid epidemic got out of control. And mental health is, is out of control. Go back a few years, just getting it covered by insurance was a difficult task. So I'm in favor of it from the perspective of family physicians don't understand mental health, and doing screenings versus, you know, the government pulling people in and doing screenings."
Anxiety testing like Barney Fife used to say could "nip it in the bud," says Meara.
"We know that there are 20 million people in the United States that could be classified as having problems with alcohol, or some type of addiction," he said. "From mental health, you're talking about 1 in 5 have mental health issues, which is about 67 million, and 1 in 20 of those is serious mental health issues."
"We're starting to understand that some of these mass shootings, those people were in a mental health system for how long and didn't get the help they needed," says Meara.
"One of our close friends that we work with was the master counselor at the Wounded Warrior battalion and Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune and what he told me helped me understand a little better. He said alcoholism and addiction is the symptom, and anxiety is the cause. And so if you look at it from that perspective, nipping it in the bud, so to speak, certainly can in the long run, help and prevent, you know, probably suicides, probably, you know, these rampages, things like that, but yeah, nipping it in the bud certainly can help."
Dr. Jesse Hann from Flemington called in to shed more light from a medical standpoint.
"I think this is an absolutely critical and fantastic idea that it should be a universal, not just New Jersey, product at some point," Hann said. "Mental health, anxiety, and depression are predictors of substance abuse, which is absolutely true. But it's such a predictor for disease and sickness as well. Whether that's diabetes, or chronic pain, 70% of people that are diagnosed with severe anxiety or depression report chronic pain, so they're going to disability that's causing the taxpayers money. So if you take this problem, and you fix it, basically, from the top down, you solve a lot of our healthcare problems."
Isn't solving problems what we're all about in New Jersey? Seriously folks if you're under 65, get yourself tested for anxiety. It couldn't hurt. Besides, what could there possibly be in New Jersey to ab anxious about?
Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Steve Trevelise only. Follow him on Twitter @realstevetrev.,