Though anxiety disorders are known to take a toll on our mental health, some of them may have an impact on our physical health as well. A recent study followed up with patients who received treatment for at least one anxiety disorder to determine their “health-related quality of life.” While some disorders had a negligible impact on an individual’s health, Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and an anxiety disorder with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) showed a significant effect on one’s quality of health.
Three researchers from Brown University used data obtained by the Primary Care Anxiety Project (PCAP) in order to assess patients’ health. The PCAP followed 539 patients, most of whom were white females, diagnosed and treated with an anxiety disorder at one of fifteen medicine practices located throughout New England. In addition to PTSD and comorbid MDD, they examined anxiety disorders included Panic Disorder, Social Phobia, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and Agoraphobia.
Each subject was interviewed on the first day of the study, again at the 6 month point, yet again six months after that, and then annually thereafter. During the interviews, the subjects rated their own quality of health, while the interviewers also privately rated the subjects’ health based on their professional assessment of the patients. Both of these scores were taken into account when analyzing the data. Demographic variables such as age, pre-existing medical conditions, and education level were also factored into the equation in an attempt to eliminate influences other than the anxiety disorders.
Ultimately, the results showed that all anxiety disorders had some impact on a patient’s health, with PTSD and comorbid MDD (Major Depression and an anxiety disorder) having the most significant results. Though the study lacks evidence of causality, the data gives reason for the topic to be researched further in order to better predict the quality of life of anxiety disorder sufferers and provide proper treatment for them.
People with anxiety may also experience depression, and recent research proves the two mental illnesses may go hand in hand. How can you lessen your anxiety today? There are a variety of ways to manage your anxiety, such as talk therapy, medication, and meditation.
If you think you have an anxiety disorder, seek professional help, your mind and body will be healthier and happier.