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Study reveals physical side effects of anxiety disorder

Georgia readers likely have their experiences of dealing with stress. Simply balancing the competing demands imposed by work, social and personal obligations can undermine an individual's composure.

Technology can be a double-edged sword in this arena. Although social media can help people stay connected to each other, smartphones and other handheld devices simultaneously alienate people from each other. Instead of taking in the big picture or one's surroundings, people may be glued to their handhelds. In addition, the calendaring function on many devices can result in people overscheduling every minute of every day.

In people with anxiety disorders, however, such environmental stressors can be devastating and lead to additional symptoms, such as severe depression. Researchers are still studying the causes of anxiety disorders, but many believe that a combination of changes in the brain, or perhaps chemical imbalances, may hinder such individuals from effectively managing or processing stressful emotions.

New research also indicates that anxiety disorders can lead to physical health problems like respiratory disease, arthritis, thyroid disorder, or gastrointestinal dysfunction. The findings may make it easer for anxiety disorder patients to apply for forms of federal assistance, such as Social Security disability insurance benefits. Current SSDI eligibility depends on an evidentiary analysis of the degree to which an impairment affects an individual's ability to work.

Once federal officials recognize the potentially life-altering effects of anxiety disorder, including its associated physical effects, individuals with this disease might encounter less resistance in their benefits application process. At present, denial rates for Georgia SSDI applicants may be as high as three-quarters of initial applicants.

Source: newsfix.ca, "Study shows link between anxiety and physical health problems," April Clarkson, April 22, 2013

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