By Victor E. Long, Esq.
A new study from the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing found that for older women, financial stress can be deadly. Financial stress is a sadly widespread experience. According to a poll on About.com roughly 7 in 10 respondents are “very stressed” about money, and only 1 in 10 report that they are not stressed about finances — and the proportion of people stressed about money is only going up. This is pretty significant because financial stress is linked to health problems like depression and sleep problems. With the rising cost of gas and food, the mortgage crisis, and the new bank troubles we’re seeing, many Americans are feeling the crunch of financial stress. Anxiety over money can negatively affect health in several ways:
- Unhealthy Coping Behaviors: People experiencing financial stress can be more likely to numb their anxiety by drinking, smoking, overeating and practicing other unhealthy coping behaviors. This in turn leads to more stress.
- Lost Sleep: When under financial stress, people often experience trouble sleeping, which can add up to a sleep defecit, impairing immune functioning and cognitive abilities, causing additional moodiness, and more.
- Unhealthy Emotions: Credit card debt can cause unhealthy emotions that can take a toll on health. People can experience anxiety, frustration and a sense of hopelessness as the debt piles up and increasing amounts of money are needed just to pay the interest. This causes additional stress, which compounds with the stress from poor coping and self-neglect, to become a menacing amount of stress.