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Economic Crisis Takes Toll on Emotional Health
Date:10/8/2008

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 Collegi
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