The Cost of Stress

I think it is always interesting to quantify something that many of us may deal with abstractly.  Money Magazine (Dec 2007, pg. 44) has an article called “Hidden Costs of Stress” which does just that.

“Chronic stress, the kind you experience when the demands of life exceed your ability to cope, boosts the risk of developing ailments ranging from the common cold and gum disease to obesity and heart disease.”

The author working with several other groups puts the costs per year of stress at:

  1. $300 for over-the-counter drugs (e.g., pain relievers and decongestants)
  2. $5,600 for physician visits and other out-of-pocket healthcare costs
  3. $375 for high life insurance premiums
  4. $500 or more for dental costs

The other big issue is lost productivity which the article mentions saying that workers with severe stress miss 23 days of work a year.  That’s an economic hit to the employer along with a source of additional stress since your performance will be lower and you will use all your vacation days to cover your stress days.

The article throws out a few simple methods to reduce stress – exercise, stretching and breathing deeply, and reducing caffeine.  Personally, I believe we have to learn to say “no” to control stress.  No – I am too busy to do that.  No – I don’t need to buy that until I have the money.  A lot of stress is often self-induced trying to do or have too much.

So, given some obvious costs, I wonder if we will ever see a “disease management” type program to reduce and manage stress.

One Response to “The Cost of Stress”

  1. Life stressors, which are ranked, amplify one’s stress. Had three of these within a year, and the stress induced because of this virtually affected every mental, emotional, and physical aspect of my life. Historically athletic and disease free, I found myself in constant pain combined with a terrible combination of anxiety and fatigue. The issue of stress perhaps needs to be researched more, as management techniques recommended are largely situational. Stress can in fact destroy someone.

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