Welcome to At Your Service Your Place for NL Service Updates

March 18, 2021

Medical Underwriting Corner: How Cases of Anxiety and Depression Are Taken into Consideration

Better preparing you for field underwriting.

Anxiety and Depression

Anxiety and depression disorders are defined by the symptoms experienced by an individual.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is described as excessive and persistent worry which is hard to control.  It results in distress, occurs more often than not, lasts for at least 6 months, and is often associated with major depression.

Treatments for anxiety include psychological techniques such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and relaxation, and different types of medications such as:

  • Benzodiazepines
  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
  • Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)
  • Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs)

Major depression is described as sadness, hopelessness, tearfulness, loss of interest in activities, low energy, slowness of speech or movements, and recurrent thoughts of death, suicidal ideation or attempt.

Treatments for major depression include psychotherapy, which may also use CBT techniques, and medications such as SSRI’s, SNRI’s, TCA’s (as noted above) and Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs).

Some medications used for treating depression are also used to treat certain cases of anxiety that have a component of depression.

In underwriting, cases of anxiety and depression the following factors are taken into consideration:
  • Diagnoses
  • Severity
    • Recurrent episodes
    • Persistent symptoms
    • Hospitalizations
  • Duration
  • Manifestations, which include:
    • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities
    • Feeling sad or crying easily or for no reason
    • Sleep problems
    • Trouble thinking, recalling, or focusing
    • Thoughts of death or suicide
  • Treatment
  • Compliance with medication
  • Stability on treatment

Many of these factors can be assessed by questions on the application and on the Psychiatric Questionnaire; the best offer is made whenever possible according to underwriting guidelines.

-Lisa Papazian, M.D., DBIM