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Anxiety disorder may signal additional health risks

Like severe depression, an anxiety disorder can be terribly disrupting to an individual’s work and personal obligations. Yet this mental condition is often misunderstood, perhaps partly because anxiety is something that healthy individuals also experience on an occasional basis.

As a recent article proves, however, there are significant differences between clinical anxiety and its everyday counterpart -- not the least of which is an increased risk of stroke. The article’s conclusion is based on a 16-year survey of over 6,000 participants. From that pool, 419 participants had a stroke at some point during the survey. When cross-referenced against the participants that reported severe symptoms of anxiety, researchers discovered a 14 percent higher risk of stroke.

Researchers aren’t exactly sure of the science behind the correlation, although they suspect that the sympathetic nervous system’s hormonal response during periods of severe anxiety may be involved.

If someone is experiencing frequent and intense symptoms of anxiety -- to the point that his or her work is also suffering -- the first step is to consult with a mental health professional. However, it may also be advisable to seek the opinion of an attorney that specializes in disability benefits, including anxiety and panic disorders. A diagnosis of anxiety disorder may take time, during which symptoms may continue to escalate. For that reason, it can be helpful to learn about the process for applying for disability benefits, including Social Security disability insurance payments.

An attorney might recommend that an individual apply for SSDI benefits as soon as he or she receives a diagnosis. The effect and duration of an anxiety disorder cannot always be estimated with exact precision, and an SSDI application often takes months before it reaches an official.  

Source: Reuters, “Anxiety linked to stroke risk,” C.E. Huggins, Dec. 27, 2013

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