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Anxiety Disorders Screening for NIH'ers

Do any or several of these sound like you: sudden racing or pounding heartbeat; repeated checks before leaving the house such as door locks or the oven; fear of harming a loved one; frequent nightmares; avoidance of places reminiscent of a traumatic experience; fear of embarrassing yourself; worry about things without signs of trouble; frequent aches and pains that can't be traced to an illness or injury?

If so, you may be suffering from a treatable anxiety disorder. To find out more about anxiety disorder symptoms you may be experiencing, attend the brief, walk-in, anonymous screening that the Quality of Work Life Initiative is sponsoring, with the support of the NIH Employee Assistance Program and NIMH, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Wednesday, May 3, which is National Anxiety Disorders Screening Day.

People being screened will view a short video on anxiety disorders, complete a questionnaire, and meet privately (and confidentially) with a mental health professional for results. Free materials and information about community resources that provide referrals will also be available.

Walk-in screening will be held at four NIH locations: Bldg. 31, Rm. B2B57; Bldg. 10, Rm. 6C306; Natcher Bldg., Rm. 1B17; and Executive Plaza North, Rm. 103. Employees may also reach screening sites by taking the NIH shuttle bus.

If you are suffering from an anxiety disorder, you are not alone. Anxiety disorders are one of the most common mental health problems in the United States, affecting more than 16 million adults each year. Without treatment, these illnesses — panic disorder; obsessive-compulsive disorder; post-traumatic stress disorder; phobias, including social phobia; and generalized anxiety disorder — can fill people's lives with chronic and unremitting fear that is often debilitating, overwhelming and can grow worse.

But the good news for individuals with anxiety disorders, despite their often-disabling symptoms, is that available treatments work. Seeking help is the first step to feeling better again.

If you need reasonable accommodation to participate in this activity, call Bronna Cohen, 496-3164, to set up an appointment so that screening can occur with a sign language interpreter or with other accommodation.

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