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Anxiety and Stress Management

with Patricia A. Farrell, PhD

This blog has been retired. We appreciate all the wisdom and support Dr. Farrell has brought to the WebMD community.

Friday, June 13, 2008

The Debt Crunch and Stress-induced Illness

A recent Associated Press-AOL poll, which took another look at the debt-stress crunch now affecting the American consumer, found that 44% of the 1,002 people in the survey indicated migraine headaches, 29% had severe anxiety, 23% suffered from severe depression and half of the study participants had some form of muscle tension or back pain. The results, when compared to a previous study completed in 2004, show significant increases in debt-related stress-induced physical problems. It’s no secret that chronic stress brings on physical problems and the emotional toll is hefty, as well.

Americans have piled up $957 billion in consumer debt, according to the Federal Reserve, and much of it is in the form of credit card debt. Twenty percent of after-tax income is now earmarked to pay this debt and that leaves household budgets with increasingly less money to spend on essentials.

What can be done? My first thought is for professional help in credit card counseling from a reputable service and then consider lifestyle changes to help you weather this credit storm. You will survive, but just as anyone who’s ever been through a tornado knows, you have to begin to sort things out and reorder your priorities.

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Posted by: Patricia Farrell, PhD at 3:05 pm

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