Anxious in America

A recent study shows Americans are becoming more and more anxious about modern problems such as terrorism, hacking, and identity theft.  The study puts the U-S in the midrange of the 13 countries studied, but finds anxiety levels here are now higher, and growing faster, than ever before.

Dr. Steffanie Campbell, an internal medicine physician at Kelsey-Seybold, isn’t surprised at the results.  She says the number of anxious patients she’s seeing is on the rise.  “I feel like it’s growing.  I have a lot more people complaining of anxiety-type symptoms and feeling overwhelmed just with normal day-to-day life.”

Dr. Campbell says she often has to talk patients out of using drugs to deal with their anxiety.  “I try to avoid chemicals if I can, actually,” she says.  “Sometimes that’s impossible just because life gets in the way.  But there are a lot of other, better remedies for anxiety.“  She recommends deep breathing exercises and “trying to eliminate the extra stressers in your life.”

Dr. Campbell says medication is a useful tool, but she tries not to make it her default solution.  “My practice tends to avoid medication if we can,” she says.  “I do think the less chemicals you put in your body, the better off you are.”

She says it’s important for people to realize that they’re not alone in facing anxiety, since it’s so much a part of the fast-paced and often dangerous world we live in.  “I’m surprised that not everybody’s on Valium,” she says, adding with a chuckle, “We should just put it in the water supply.”

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