Is stress making you ill?
For many people, stress is a normal part of working life. But in the current economic climate, work-related anxiety has become so intense that many employees simply can’t cope.
As a result, stress is now the number one cause of long-term sickness absence.
A new report has found stress has, for the first time, moved ahead of problems such as repetitive strain injury or acute medical conditions such as cancer to become the top reason for taking sick leave of four weeks or longer in the UK.
Dr Steve Mowle, vice-chairman of the Royal College of General Practitioners, says there can be many physical symptoms, including headaches, back and neck pain, chest pain, panic attacks and eye strain. Sleep and concentration may also be affected.
‘GPs are undoubtedly seeing lots of employees in various states of distress linked to uncertainty surrounding their job, or because of the threat of redundancy,’ says Dr Mowle.
‘There are a lot of unhappy patients out there, whose lives have been turned upside down by what’s happening at work.’
He adds: ‘If stress is having a persistently negative effect on your health, either mental or physical, go and see your GP.
‘The GP is the right person to help navigate you out of the situation and find strategies for dealing with it.’