Dr. David B. Adams – Psychological Blog

Psychology of Illness, Pain, Anxiety and Depression

Free-Floating Fear

Anxiety is a fear that has become diffuse. It is normal to become concerned after an injury, concerned about the discomfort, about one’s career, about finances and about the family. In some cases, the anxiety becomes more of a problem than the injury.

The individual becomes so anxious that they cannot understand what they are told about their injury and their need for care. They cannot make effective decisions, cannot sleep, have problems with appetite and the anxiety itself can cause physical problems which the patient then believes are injury related.

It is not uncommon for people to assume that a patient understands what is physically wrong and what will be the course of care. In reality, often the patient does not understand, is embarrassed (or lacks the skills) to ask about treatment, and often the patient will not willingly discuss with the treating doctor, the underlying family and financial concerns.

Anxiety is a treatable symptom. When anxiety characterizes and impedes daily functioning, it can precipitate a variety of psychological disorders and associated physical complaints. It is best to check out what, if any, impact anxiety has upon an injured worker. It is not typically disabling, but left unaddressed, anxiety itself become the problem which interferes with recovery.

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