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Panic Phobias, Physical debility-“P’s”in a pd?

A recent study has successfully confirmed that anxiety disorders may not be just an independent malady but oft linked to a co existent physical disorder among those who// suffer from it causing marked debility and difficulty in doing daily chores and effecting work efficiency.

Archives of Internal Medicine, in its edition dated October 23rd reports this study which concurs that very often anxiety disorders are associated with underlying conditions like arthritis, and disorders of thyroid function which spurs the possibility of further disability and depression of quality of life. The study aims to prove that apart from depression that is often screened for in those afflicted with chronic physical ailments, it is imperative that a screening for anxiety disorders is also considered by physicians.

Lead researcher Dr. Jitender Sareen of the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada along with his team of researchers have elicited enough proof to show that those individuals who suffer from physical disorders like respiratory disease, gastrointestinal disease, migraine headaches and allergies, stand a severe chance of having to cope with disability if they also suffer from anxiety disorders along side.

In the extensive study which evolved from case taking and survey conducted among both men and women between the ages of 18 and 79, for over two years, the authors of this study evaluated the association in terms of number of days in a month prior to an individual not being able to carry on with daily activities due to an incapacitating physical illness. It was found out that an association of anxiety disorders ranging from panic disorder, fear of being in public places, social phobia, simple phobia, to obsessive-compulsive disorder, along with physical disorders resulted in at least a day of disability.

Although the authors claim to have weeded out some of the common biases and limitations that trickle into the research into such a study of mammoth magnitude, critics point out that even this study is flawed in not having looked into case studies of post traumatic cases and because many of the physical disorders considered vary in severity and it fails to prove if it is the severity or associated anxiety that triggers of the disability that ensues in some cases.

However in the course of study it was noted that most of the volunteers did have an onset of anxiety before physical symptoms manifested.

The authors concluded that if an underlying emotional disorder was tactfully dealt with appropriate therapeutics physical discomfort along with chances of severe disability could also be allayed.

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