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Anxiety and the Government Shutdown

Anxiety is a natural response to stress. Stress spikes, and you become anxious as fear or apprehension sets in. An estimated 40 million people suffer with an anxiety disorder called Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) or social anxiety disorder. The government shutdown has caused a spike in the level of panic and fear from people who typically haven’t been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.

Who is Impacted by the Shutdown?

Past studies into the impact of government shutdowns on the mental wellbeing of our nation have shown that Americans struggle deeply with anxiety and fear when the government is not operating at full capacity. It’s not just government workers that stress; it’s those who collect food stamps or visit food banks for assistance; it’s the individuals that rely on government backed healthcare such as Medicare or Medicaid; and renters that receive government assisted housing. The fear even trickles down to the business owners that may see fewer people spending money as a result of the furlough and changes in the fiscal balance of our nation.

Coping with Anxiety

Many of the same solutions to anxiety that are offered to those who struggle with general anxiety or social anxiety, are offered to those affected by the government shutdown. Psychiatrists and mental health professionals offer the following suggestions to help you cope with anxiety:

Dr. Ifeanyi Olele Ifeanyi Olele, DO, MBA, MS, is a board-certified psychiatrist who sees adolescent and adult patients in the greater Washington DC metropolitan area at Genesis Psychiatric Solutions. Dr. Olele is a dedicated psychiatrist in the treatment of anxiety, depression, trauma-related stress disorders, and attention deficit disorders. Dr. Ifeanyi Olele is one of the few psychiatrists who utilizes psychotherapy (talk therapy) as part of his treatment plan.

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