Stress and Money

You know the economic crisis is endangering your finances – but could it be threatening your health?

Think that sounds a bit far-fetched? Plenty of doctors don’t think so. Physicians across the country say they are treating a growing number of patients for severe stress. Apparently, while the big boys on Wall Street have been busy snatching up their billions in bailout dollars, the muddy water they’ve landed the rest of us (and maybe even our global neighbors) in is spurring an alarming increase in anxiety.

In a study by the American Psychological Association last week, 80% of participants say the economy is a significant source of stress. That’s up from 66% in April! Women seem to be bearing the brunt of the worries, as more females than men report being stressed by money, housing costs, job stability and the economy.

Doctors say stress can exacerbate pre-existing medical conditions and, at its most extreme, can even result in domestic violence or suicide. For most of us (fortunately) the effects are more subtle—yet dangerous enough to be taken seriously. Over time, chronic worry can lead to physical symptoms like insomnia, high blood pressure and heart disease and psychological ailments like depression.

It’s a trend statisticians have known about for years—illness rates go up when the economy turns down. And this is the biggest downturn since the Great Depression. People are losing it all – their homes, jobs, cars, not to mention their pride and hope.

But don’t buy into the doom-and-gloom, nothing-we-can-do mentality on the news, say the psychologists in the APA study. Instead, it’s best to confront the cause of your stress head-on. As my mom (eternal optimist that she was) used to tell me, when you’ve hit rock bottom, there’s nowhere to go but up.

Of course, if you feel unbearably overwhelmed or depressed by debt, don’t hesitate to seek help. Talk to a counselor, talk to your family, talk to your friends and neighbors—you might be surprised at how many are going through the same thing. Then, do something about it.

Remember, bailouts aren’t just a luxury of Wall Street (though Uncle Sam sure makes it feel that way). You have a constitutional right to declare bankruptcy. You have the option to intervene when the bank threatens to take your home. DebtStoppers is on your side with real-life solutions. Contact one of our attorneys to find out how.

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