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Sandy victims struggle with anxiety, work fears

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the agency responsible for providing temporary shelter to Sandy refugees, people from about 5,000 displaced households are staying in hotels in New York and New Jersey. Many share anxieties about their future prospects for work and shelter.

According to a new study, chronic anxiety and its associated symptoms may also have debilitating health consequences. The study tested more than 380 participants for their tendency to respond to anger-inducing scenarios. Based on criteria such as hostility, physical and verbal aggression, anger expression and anger control, researchers identified 131 participants who exhibited Generalized Anxiety Disorder symptoms.

Anxiety disorders have a number of root causes and often present serious symptoms that can interfere with a person's ability to function normally and perform work duties. In the case of GAD, symptoms may include excessive and uncontrollable worry about everyday things, anticipating disaster, and being overly concerned about everyday issues, such as health, money, and relationships.

Significantly, researchers found that higher levels of anger in those GAD patients were associated with worry and anxiety, both of which increased the severity of their GAD symptoms. The study thus suggests that there may be a link between anger and anxiety, particularly in the case of those who suffer from GAD.

Understanding the health consequences of that link may prove important: The study's author believes that anger might interfere with cognitive behavioral therapy or other anxiety treatments. Better understanding of the relationship between anger and anxiety might thus help doctors design more effective treatments for anxiety patients.

Those who suffer from anxiety may find it next to impossible to perform their work duties. In order to qualify for Social Security disability benefits, however, the anxiety must be affecting a person to the point that he or she would not be able to do any kind of work. Medical treatment, especially from a psychologist or psychiatrist, is also required in most cases. An attorney will be able to advise anxiety patients and their health care providers of the specific medical documentation needed to prove eligibility for SSDI benefits.

Source: NPR, "Storm Refugees Struggle To Rebound In Times Square," Cindy Rodriguez, Dec. 28, 2012

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