Stress, Anxiety and Chronic Pain: An Epidemic

pain and anxiety

These days it seems like not a day goes by without a least one alarming news report highlighting the “epidemics” besieging the United States – obesity, cancer, Type II diabetes, autism, and on and on. But there is an epidemic going on in this country that receives considerably less fanfare: chronic pain. According to the National Institutes of Health, chronic pain is a condition that impacts more Americans than cancer, heart disease, and diabetes combined. In fact, it can be so debilitating that chronic pain is the leading cause of Americans going on long-term disability. While there are seemingly infinite possible causes of long-term pain, studies have shown that it is often inextricably linked with stress, anxiety and depression.

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Less Stress at Work than at Home?

Stressed at Work

As workplace stress levels rise and employers expect more and more from their workers, a new study from Penn State University uproots the conventional wisdom that for most, the office is a major stressor, while home is a sanctuary away from it all.

For the study, researchers took into account participants’ self-reported stress levels, as well as, their actual cortisol (stress hormone) levels, at work and at home. Surprisingly, they found that people – particularly parents — tend to be less stressed at work than at home.

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Study Sheds Light on Anxiety-Related Procrastination

In her head

Growing up as an anxious child, one of the biggest conflicts between my parents and me was my tendency to procrastinate on absolutely everything. It wasn’t until I finally sought help for my anxiety many years later, that I learned that procrastination is actually a relatively common symptom of anxiety. It is something I still struggle with to this day, which is why I was particularly interested when I came across a new study, published in the Journal of Personality, where researchers examined this very phenomenon.

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Reactions to Stress May Be Written in Our DNA

DNA

A common complaint I hear from anxiety sufferers is that those who don’t share their struggle just can’t understand what it’s like. People with anxiety disorders (myself included) are too often on the receiving end of well-meaning advice like, “That’s not something to get upset about,” or “Try not to worry about it.”

While the intentions are usually good, this advice is misguided and not helpful for those of us trying to manage anxiety. In fact, recent scientific research shows that the way stress and anxiety impact us, is largely determined by our genes. In other words, the difference between someone who can easily navigate life’s challenges and someone who struggles to cope, may actually be their genetic makeup. [Read more…]

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Is Your Stress Rubbing Off On The People Around You?

Contagious Stress

New study indicates stress can be contagious

In the American Psychological Association’s 2013 Stress in America survey, 61% of respondents said they believe that stress management is very important, but 44% don’t think they’re doing enough to deal with their stress. What’s more, nearly 20% report that they don’t engage in any sort of stress management at all. If you count yourself among the ranks of frazzled Americans who aren’t doing enough to lower your stress levels, here’s another reason to make it a priority: a new study out of Germany has found that stress can actually be contagious. [Read more…]

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Five Tips For Less Stress Right Now

Relaxed in Spring

The month of April always feels like a turning point in the year. We celebrate favorite spring holidays like Easter and Passover, families unwind over spring vacation, and the weather finally starts to improve; reminding us that summer is just around the corner.

But did you know that April is also National Stress Awareness month? With this effort, every April since 1992, health care professionals have worked to spread awareness of country’s stress epidemic and its consequences.

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Study Links Anti-Anxiety Drugs and Increased Mortality Rates

Anxiety and Prescription MedicationStudy shows that risk of death more than doubled in people taking benzodiazepines and prescription sleeping pills.

It’s well understood within the medical community that anti-anxiety drugs and sleeping pills carry the hefty risks of addiction, overdose, serious accidents, and cognitive impairment. Now, a British study published in the BMJ has found that over the course of nearly 8 years, death rates more than doubled in people who were taking these prescription medications.

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Studies Show Stress Affects Men and Women Differently

women-men

Stress May Bring Out Empathy in Women, Selfishness in Men

When researchers at the International School for Advanced Studies in Trieste, Italy, set out to study how stress impacts empathy and egocentricity, they originally theorized that stress would mostly make people more self-centered. They were surprised to learn, however, that their hypothesis was only true for men.
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