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Even Mild Stress Can Lead to Disability


According to a new study, even slight stress can lead to long-term disability that may prevent people from working.

The study, conducted by Dheerak Rai of the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom, indicates that the mental disorder’s severity is no indicator of the possible disability consequences that may come as a result of the stress.

As per the results, over 17,000 employed adults in Sweden were utilized in order to determine the overall impact of stress on future disability. During the beginning stages of the research, in 2002, participants took part in a survey that was supposed to determine their mental health and stress levels. The subjects were then tracked through 2007.

After the follow-up period, 649 of the participants began to receive disability benefits. Of that total, 203 got theirs for mental health issues, while the rest got theirs for physical problems. The subjects who had initially been determined to have higher levels of stress were far more likely to receive long-term disability benefits than others.

However, even mild stress was found to increase the risk of receiving disability. Estimates of the increase in likelihood that even mild stress would contribute to the need for disability rose by up to 70 percent.

"Mild psychological distress may be associated with more long-term disability than previously acknowledged and its public health importance may be underestimated," Rai and colleagues concluded.

The results of this study were published online March 23 in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

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