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IU Health reports increase in first-time anxiety diagnoses

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — IU Health is reporting an increase in patients seeking mental health services for the first time, saying the most common diagnosis is anxiety linked to the pandemic.

“There are so many aspects about this experience that can cause people to feel isolated,” said Danielle Henderson, clinical psychologist, “and to connect with someone who is there to helpn I thinkn has been really beneficial.”

IU Health psychologists insist everyone experiences anxiety at some point in their lives, but when those feelings start interfering with day-to-day life and success, it’s diagnosable and treatable.

“People are reporting fast-beating heart, feeling sweaty or shaking, having difficulty sleeping, whether it’s going to sleep because of concerns or worries or waking up in the morning,” said Henderson.

Treatments for serious or extreme cases may include hospitalization or a stay in a clinic. Other patients may benefit best from prescription medication, but Henderson says many just need to talk about it and gain a feeling of control.

“Anxiety is protective in a lot of ways,” she said, “It wants to keep us safe, and what we have to do is find out what triggers our anxiety and learn coping mechanisms.”

She adds those conversations are happening more and more online due to the pandemic.

“We are using telemedicine, or virtual visits,” she said. “We’re able to connect and see each other visually and have our session as we normally would and it’s working out very well for me personally.”

Telemedicine is not without its faults. Henderson says there are still some barriers as patients and providers must figure out the technology of a face-to-face call and sometimes the sessions don’t go as smoothly as an in-person visit. However, with more people and providers becoming video-chat literate, Henderson suggests telemedicine therapy may continue to grow in popularity, even after the pandemic. She says some patients prefer to receive help in their own living rooms rather than overcome what might be the barrier of driving to the clinic, walking in and sitting in the waiting room.

Learn more about anxiety here and find an IU Health mental health provider.

Search other hospital groups or independent mental health providers here.

Talkspace Online Therapy is offering a free seven-day trial to those enrolled with certain health insurance companies online or through the Talkspace app.