Mental health disorders are surprisingly common, especially after the recent pandemic. Mental Health America’s State of Mental Health in America 2023 report notes that approximately 21% of American adults, or 50 million people, are experiencing some type of mental illness. Fortunately, preventive health can help catch emerging mental health disorders before they become more serious. Here’s a look at some screening measures that your preventive health benefit may include. Many of these will help your doctor properly detect underlying signs or symptoms of a mental health condition.
Alcohol use disorder
Alcohol misuse is the third leading cause of preventable deaths in the U.S., with more than 85,000 people dying from it each year. An estimated 30% of people in the United States are affected by alcohol misuse, which can easily lead to risky behaviors. We offer the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test-Concise (AUDIT-C), a validated screener that helps identify hazardous drinking patterns and alcohol use disorders.
More than 7% of people living in the United States have experienced symptoms of intermittent explosive disorder (IED) at some time. This refers to irrational and inappropriate angry outbursts, such as road rage or throwing things. We offer an anger screening test to discover whether you might benefit from anger management solutions.
More than 16.1 million adults in the United States, representing over 6% of the adult population, suffer from major depressive disorder (MDD). We use a validated screening tool known as the Patient Health Questionnaire 2-Item (PHQ-2) to assess your risk for depression.
More than 10 million people per year in the United States experience physical abuse at the hands of an intimate partner, occurring at a rate of almost 20 people per minute. We offer a brief domestic violence screener to determine whether you might be in an abusive relationship.
Around 10% of American adults have struggled with drug abuse at some point, with 4% coping with it in the past year. We offer the Drug Abuse Screening Test 2-Item (DAST-2), a validated screening tool to help identify people with a potential drug use disorder, including prescription drugs.
Generalized anxiety disorder
Anxiety is the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting more than 18% of the adult population, or about 40 million people, every year. We use the Generalized Anxiety Disorder 2-Item (GAD-2), a validated screener, to assess your risk for generalized anxiety.
Loneliness is associated with a vast range of both mental and physical health conditions. Those who suffer from loneliness are more likely to die prematurely from all causes. They have a 50% higher risk for dementia, a 29% higher risk for heart disease, and are 32% more likely to experience a stroke than those with stronger social ties. People with a high degree of loneliness are also more likely to experience anxiety or depression and even to die by suicide. Immigrants and those in the LGBTQ+ community are at especially high risk for loneliness and its effects. We offer the UCLA 3-Item Loneliness Scale to assess your level of loneliness.
Motivation to change
Change is hard, and people must be ready to make long-term changes to improve their health and wellbeing. We use an important tool known as the Motivation to Change scale to determine your current readiness to make difficult changes in your life. This helps us focus on interventions and lifestyle recommendations that meet you where you are rather than trying to push you to make radical changes that don’t fit your current state of mind.
Post-traumatic stress disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, affects 6.8% of American adults at some point in their lives. PTSD can lead to a host of difficulties, including radically altering your lifestyle in an attempt to avoid triggers. Trauma can be difficult to unravel, but it all starts with discovering that the issue exists. We offer a PTSD screener that is designed to identify people who might be at risk for the disorder.
About a third of adults in the United States typically get less sleep than they need. A lack of sleep can raise your risk of vehicle accidents or dangerous mistakes at work. But over time, chronic sleep loss is linked to many chronic illnesses. These include, but are not limited to, heart disease, diabetes, depression, and obesity. We offer a sleep quality assessment to help identify any sleep disorders you may have and determine whether further evaluation is warranted.
Stress is part of life, and we will all face adversity from time to time. Building resilience is an important tool in helping to reduce your risk of stress-related conditions, from depression and anxiety to heart disease or other chronic illnesses. The Brief Resilience Scale (BRS) is a validated screener that measures how well you respond to trauma, tragedy, threats, and stressors such as family or workplace stress. It helps us determine whether you need assistance in building your stress resilience.
What happens next?
It’s important to understand that these tools are first-line screeners. In other words, they can identify people showing signs or symptoms of a potential mental health disorder. However, they cannot replace a full assessment by a qualified mental health professional. If our screening tools show that you may be at risk for a mental health condition, the next step is typically a referral to a mental health professional for a complete assessment, diagnosis, and treatment plan. Depending on your individual needs and preferences, mental health conditions may be treated with medications, various types of therapy, or both. And in many cases, milder conditions can be successfully treated with only a few therapy sessions.
Mental health care has come a long way in recent decades, so there is no need to suffer in silence. Your mental health is every bit as important as your physical health. If you believe you may have symptoms of a disorder, get screened. And if the screener shows that you are at heightened risk, seek treatment.