Stress is epidemic in the western world. Over two-thirds of office visits to physicians are for stress related illness. Stress is a major contributing factor either directly or indirectly, to coronary artery disease, cancer, respiratory disorders, accidental injuries, cirrhosis of the liver and suicide; the six leading causes of death in the United States. Stress aggravates other conditions such as multiple sclerosis, diabetes, herpes, mental illness, alcoholism, drug abuse, and family discord and violence.
The stress epidemic is an extremely costly one. The medical costs alone have been estimated in the United States at well over 1 Billion dollars per year. Stress costs industry approximately 150 billion dollars per year in increased health insurance outlays, burnout, absenteeism, reduced productivity, costly mistakes in the office and on the shop floor, poor morale, high employee turnover, as well as family, alcohol and drug related problems.
Stress is a state of tension that is created when a person responds to the demands and pressures that come from work, family and other external sources, as well as those that are internally generated from self imposed demands, obligations and self-criticism.
Stress is both additive and cumulative. It adds up over time until a state of crisis is reached and symptoms appear. These symptoms may manifest themselves psychologically as irritability, anxiety, impaired concentration, mental confusion, poor judgment, frustration and anger. They may appear as physical symptoms. Common physical symptoms of stress include: muscle tension, headaches, low back pain, insomnia and high blood pressure. Untreated, these symptoms may lead to physical illness and sometimes death.
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