Experts seeing more cases of sleeplessness, anxiety, but they offer tips for coping
WEDNESDAY, Oct. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Wall Street's roller coaster ride is costing Americans more than money: It's costing them sleepless nights and a heap of emotional distress, experts say.
"People are anxious, and they are more anxious if they are nearer retirement age and have their 401k in the stock market and money in the banks," said Linda Rosenberg, president of the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare, in Washington, D.C. "When people get anxious . . . it begins to affect the whole family. There are marital fights over 'What do we do now?' Kids get involved when parents are fighting and have their own emotional upset."
In some ways, the current upset may hit closer to home than 9/11, affecting larger numbers of people, added Rosenberg, who reported that mental health centers are getting more calls.
"This economic crisis has been going on for months and months and months," said Josh Klapow, an associate professor of health-care organization and policy at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. "If you take the gas prices, and you couple that with home foreclosures, and you couple that with major lending agencies and investment banks going under and retail prices going up, and you couple that with a stock market that crashes plus a bailout followed by a stock market crash, you get anxiety compounding anxiety."
The uncertainty of even top leaders not knowing when the situation is going to be fixed, not to mention the lack of control many people feel, is only aggravating the matter.
Wall Street workers are probably feeling the pain even more.
"I'm seeing a lot of sleep issues, people with gastrointestinal illness and chronic stomach issues, and people who are sicker in terms of colds and coughs and immune issues," said Kenneth Ruge, a staff minister and counselor at Marble Collegiate Church in New York City who also has many clients on Wall Street. "I'm seeing more Xanax and Ambien for sleep aids and anxiety control. The levels of alcohol consumption, I think, are up somewhat among some of my clients."
A recently released poll found that Americans are indeed more stressed than they were in the spring.
But there may be a silver lining in this cloudy sky. Experts have the following advice to help cope and lessen anxiety:
The American Academy of Family Physicians has more on coping with stress.
SOURCES: Frank Farley, Ph.D., professor, psychological studies in education, Temple University, Philadelphia; Josh Klapow, Ph.D., associate professor, health-care organization and policy, University of Alabama at Birmingham; Linda Rosenberg, president, National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare, Washington, D.C.; Kenneth Ruge, D.Min., staff minister and counselor, Marble Collegiate Church, New York City
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