How are you feeling post-election?
In the practice of medicine, we use validated questionnaires like the PHQ-9 to screen for depression or the GAD-7 to screen for anxiety.
My wife, a family doctor, administered the GAD-7 to a patient of hers this week; post-election, I started wondering how many Americans could be diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder* right now.
Go ahead and take the quiz yourself:
What’s your score?
A score of five or more indicates mild symptoms. Ten or more moves you to moderate. Fifteen or more means you are highly likely to have diagnosable anxiety disorder–what the experts call generalized anxiety disorder.*
If you’re in this highest category, think about getting help. You can start with your primary care physician. She can help you directly or refer you to other community mental health resources that can be helpful.
*Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5):
A. Excessive anxiety and worry (apprehensive expectation), occurring more days than not for at least 6 months, about a number of events or activities (such as work or school performance).
B. The individual finds it difficult to control the worry.
C. The anxiety and worry are associated with three (or more) of the following six symptoms (with at least some symptoms having been present for more days than not for the past 6 months):
Note: Only one item is required in children.
- Restlessness or feeling keyed up or on edge.
- Being easily fatigued.
- Difficulty concentrating or mind going blank.
- Muscle tension.
- Sleep disturbance (difficulty falling or staying asleep, or restless, unsatisfying sleep).
D. The anxiety, worry, or physical symptoms cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
E. The disturbance is not attributable to the physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, a medication) or another medical condition (e.g., hyperthyroidism).
Nice article in STAT, a relatively new Boston Globe-affiliated publication devoted entirely to health care. Melissa Bailey reminds us that ‘candystripers’ used to sell cigarettes to patients to comfort them while hospitalized.
She goes on to point out 5 practices that will seem just as antiquated. Soon, we hope.
- Advising doctors NOT to say, “I’m sorry.” Hospitals still do this. It can be seen as an admission of guilt, the thinking goes.
- Have prescription labels that don’t indicate what the medicine is for. How smart. And not even close to standard at present.
- Not washing our hands in front of you every time. ‘Nuff said.
- Spending more time typing than talking and listening to you. We can hope, can’t we?
- Easily getting your medical records, without your having to pay, wait, fill out forms, or just be hassled like you’re asking for state secrets.
I think this is an excellent list. There are no doubt dozens more. (Why do we awaken people in the hospital so often?) What are your ideas for health care pet peeves you’d like to see abolished?