Feeling anxious? You aren’t alone.
The National Institute of Mental Health puts the number of people diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder at about 6.8 million adults. That’s more than 3% of the population. It doesn’t necessarily include those suffering from social anxiety disorder, panic attacks or phobias that also could fall under the anxious umbrella.
A three-year pandemic and its hand-in-hand economic crisis haven’t exactly helped.
While anti-anxiety medications are widely prescribed, only about 43% of people are being treated. That might have to do with side effects of the drugs or stigma regarding them.
When Pennsylvania started its legalized medical marijuana program, it allowed for a list of conditions and illnesses. Cancer patients could get relief from pain and nausea and increase appetite. For glaucoma, it could reduce the pressure in the eye. Multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s and sickle cell anemia all could qualify for the program.
But, in 2019, anxiety was added. A Spotlight PA investigation showed that increased the number of people applying.
“It was a veritable tsunami of patients,” Lehigh Valley physician Charles Harris said.
Of the 385,000 certifications in 2021, 60% were for anxiety. For 40%, anxiety was the only condition listed.
That’s troublesome when Spotlight PA points toward the very money-driven,…