Britain facing stress epidemic

Thursday 19th March, 2009

A new survey by the British College of Osteopathic Medicine (BCOM) has revealed Britain is facing a stress epidemic due to the current economic uncertainty.

More than 77% of participants in the survey claimed their stress levels, and that of their partner’s, had increased during the financial downturn.

And of those surveyed who felt they were suffering from stress, 79% claimed to have been made unemployed or were made aware they might be at risk of losing their job within the past 3-6 months.

What’s of more concern is that when questioned further, only 29% could say for certain that they or their partner had already been made unemployed or were liable to be made job-less in the near future. This highlights the gap between the reality of their situation and the anticipation of what could happen.

79% of people surveyed felt the media’s coverage of the economy was creating further stress and 72% felt stress was manifesting itself with physical problems such as back pain, eczema, headaches, migraines, psoriasis and RSI. 45% of those surveyed said their stress was causing them to feel depressed.

In looking to combat stress, the survey discovered that 55% of people were using exercise and nutrition while 34% were doing nothing. Prescribed medication was being used by 13% with 7% turning to alternative medicine. Massage and osteopathy were found to be of specific benefit to stress.

Dr. Ian Drysdale, College Principal, said, “This survey shows not only how the obvious factors of economic uncertainty affect our stress levels, but that the cost of then taking up activities or treatments that could combat the stress is an equally important factor.

“We hear of so many different treatments out there that all claim to alleviate stress but many of them are still inaccessible to far too many. It also highlights the importance of clearer communication of the benefits of alternative and physical therapies as well as more evidence-based benefits of such therapies”

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(Report adapted from BCOM press release)



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