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THE HIGH COST OF STRESS

According to the American Academy of Social Physicians, two-thirds of consultations in the United States are prompted by stress-related symptoms. The cost of such symptoms in absenteeism, company expenses and lost productivity have been estimated at between $50 billion to $75 billion a year — more than $750 for every worker. The indications are that Australia has a similar per capita erosion of productivity. Stress is now known to be a major contributor, either directly or indirectly, to coronary heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, accidental injuries, cirrhosis of the liver and to suicide — six of the leading causes of death in the United States. Australia is headed the same way. Stress also plays a major role in aggravating such diverse conditions as multiple sclerosis, diabetes, genital herpes and heart attacks. It’s a sorry sign of the times that the three best-selling drugs in the US are an ulcer medication (Tagamet), a hypertension drug (Inderal) and a tranquilliser (Valium).

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