Bartlett offers free anxiety screening

Posted: Tuesday, May 06, 2003

Juneau residents who suffer from anxiety disorders or depression can lead seemingly normal lives without having their disease diagnosed or treated, said Dr. David Kuhaneck.

"But they're not as productive as they could be otherwise, and they don't enjoy life in the way that they could otherwise," the Juneau psychiatrist said.

Kuhaneck has organized an anxiety disorder screening and information day at Bartlett Regional Hospital from 1 to 5 p.m. Wednesday. The event, sponsored by the hospital, is free and open to the public.

A person suffering from anxiety disorder feels "chronic exaggerated worry and tension ... where people worry excessively about almost everything and where the worry is interfering with enjoying life or being productive," Kuhaneck said.

Panic attacks, social phobias, general anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder and post traumatic stress syndrome are the most common types of anxiety disorders, he said.

Wednesday's event will include informational videos, a brief presentation and a self-test that helps identify the disorders, Kuhaneck said.

Freedom From Fear, a national nonprofit association dedicated to spreading knowledge about anxiety disorders and depression, established May 7 as a national day for anxiety disorder screening. Bartlett joined the effort for the first time this year.

According to Freedom From Fear, more than 19 million adult Americans suffer from anxiety disorders, and about 10 percent of the population suffers from depression.

"Anxiety disorders in general are the most common mental illness in America," Kuhaneck said. "In the years gone by there was some kind of attitude that this was a moral weakness or a personal weakness, and you should just pull yourself up by the bootstraps and get better."

Scientists have learned anxiety disorders and depression are disorders of brain chemistry that can be treated with certain medications and therapy.

After taking a self-test designed to diagnose depression and anxiety disorders, people who attend Wednesday's clinic will be referred to a psychiatrist and be told about the resources available.

For more information about anxiety disorders and depression, visit www.freedomfromfear.org. For more information on the screening, call Bartlett Outpatient Services at 796-8498.



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