Medical Spotlight: Anxiety by Dr. Berry

Topic of today is Anxiety

Back for another week of the “Medical Spotlight”. As discussed in one my previous posts I am going to be doing a series on mental health, something which I hold of extreme importance for several reasons including that my wife is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and that I personally feel that your mental well being will always have a direct correlation on the physical.  To help give us better a visualization of just how real mental health disorders can be I am going to be bringing you guys along with me as we look through the eyes of Sam Davis, a fictional who is experiencing what I know a lot of African American Males are at this time with the rash of police related deaths.  The signs, symptoms & even treatments are not different in other races but being a black male myself this point of view is obviously a lot easier to write from.

Sam is a normal high school teen whose current thoughts are more preoccupied with waking up in time for class, passing his finals and what are the weekend plans. Usually before Sam can even get up to brush his teeth he has his cell phone in hand to see if he missed anything last night via social media because he knows that he can't be the last to know what's happening. Unfortunately, Sam is again shaken to see the number one trending topic is someone being killed at the hands of a police officer. He goes to twitter it's there, facebook it's there & there are even videos on his snapchat. This time the person who dies is Sam's age so it hits closer to home even though this kid was on the other side of the country. Before Sam knows it he's running late for school but as he brushes his teeth, showers & throws his clothes on he can't help but think about all he's seen before seven in the morning. As he kisses his mother goodbye Sam gets in the car, trying to beat the traffic to school because he knows that he can't be late to first period again but unfortunately three mins away from school he's pulled over. Almost immediately Sam begins to tense up, his heart starts racing, & visible beads of sweat begin running down his face. In his mind he goes through his check list – seatbelt on – check, Insurance card & driver's license ready – check, hands on the steering wheel in plain sight-check.
To be continued next week. so lets talk about General Anxiety Disorder.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

In our story Sam has been dealing with these issues for quite some time with all the images he's bombarded with so as soon as he is pulled over his body goes into what we would classify as a sympathetic overdrive.
These are very common symptoms/facts associated with Anxiety disorder
  • excessive & persistent worrying
  • associated increased feelings of apprehension, irritability, fatigue and muscle tension
  • chronic disorder with fluctuating symptom severity over time
  • one of the most common mental health disorders presented in the primary care setting
  • high treatable yet only one third of those suffering actually receive treatment
  • Three to five times more likely to go to the doctor
  • Six times more likely to be hospitalized for psychiatric disorders than those who do not suffer from anxiety disorders.
These are some risk factors associated General Anxiety disorder
  • Female sex
  • Poverty
  • Recent adverse life events
  • Chronic physical illness (respiratory, cardiovascular, metabolic, cognitive)
  • Chronic mental disorder (depression, phobia and past GAD)
  • Parental loss or separation
  • Low affective support during childhood
  • History of mental problems in parents
We tend to classify our friends and family members as “just” being a little anxious but over time this disorder can have serious long term affects such as those who suffer from depression. In my office I probably see 5-10 patients a week who are suffering from some degree of anxiety disorder.
Here is the screening tool that I like to use in the office. Anxiety Screening 
There are various treatment modalities so I am not going to discuss any particular ones but I do implore you that if you do need help that you don't brush it off.
*shameless plug alert* If you're in the south florida area you can see my wife who is licensed mental health counselor.  Day by Day Therapy 

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