Monitoring for Signs of Anxiety and Depression in Patients During COVID-19

June 29th 2020
Contemporary Clinic Staff

Contemporary Clinic® interviewed Shelley Johns, PsyD, a Regenstrief Institute research scientist and associate professor of medicine at Indiana University School of Medicine on ways in which practitioners can monitor for signs of anxiety and depression in patients when they come in for treatment.

Contemporary Clinic® interviewed Shelley Johns, PsyD, a Regenstrief Institute research scientist and ​associate professor of medicine at Indiana University School of Medicine on ways in which practitioners can monitor for signs of anxiety and depression in patients when they come in for treatment.

The discussion includes a discussion of the main focus of Johns’ work as a clinical health psychologist, what adaptive coping is and how can it help patients who exhibit signs of anxiety or depression, and how the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is affecting patients with pre-existing anxiety and depression.

Johns noted that at her clinic and the clinics of the 7 clinical psychology doctoral students who she supervises, the number of patients seeking mental health care has not gone up since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

She said, “That really worries me because I know just from talking with my friends and my neighbors, and other people in my social network, that problems are worsening. I just feel like everybody right now kind of chalks it up to ‘we're all under this stress so I need to just suck it up and deal with it,’ and that is really not going to be the best approach for people who have clinically significant symptoms of anxiety and depression. There are evidence-based treatments that can help reduce their suffering.”

Johns also discussed how anxiety or depression can appear or cause physical symptoms that a patient may be seeking treatment for, how a practitioner can potentially identify these symptoms as anxiety or depression, and some tools for practitioners to recommend to patients who are seeking treatment for these symptoms.

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