The Cost of Stress


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This article from the Washington Athletic Club highlights a serious issue that is affecting health insurance rates increases for the foreseeable future.

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The Cost of Stress

  1. 1. Cost of StressIts too high and its unnecessaryBy Robert Simon Siegel, MSDoesnt it seem time—after 25 years of research, books, tapes and workshops—that we finally have a cure forstress? A performance- and health-enhancing treatment that works immediately for all types of stress throughoutthe rest of your life? Is that asking too much? Read on, because there is a real remedy that dissolves stress in onlysix seconds.What could a genuine cure for stress accomplish?Significant cost savings. A whopping 75%-90% of all doctor visits, medical and psychological, are nowrecognized as stress related. With an average annual cost of $4,500 per person for health care, that is a potentialreduction of $2,125-$4,050 in health care costs per person once stress is "cured," particularly for self-administeredcompanies.Cost containment. Current health care cost increases are ballooning annually at 12%-20% ($540-$900) per person,with stress accounting for $405-$810 of that increase. A proper stress remedy should also contain such costs.Lower absenteeism. Alleviating stress-related doctor visits would equally lower the percentage of absenteeism forthose visits. A single day of absenteeism costs a company at least $300 per employee at a $50,000 salary, assumingno additional costs for project delays. If absenteeism averages 3-10 days a year per employee, then absenteeismreductions of 2-9 days per employee could be accomplished with a stress cure. Without a cure, the problems repeat.Improved performance. Each annoying "symptom" of stress detracts from performance and focus. Insomnia froman overactive mind that wont allow sleep results in fatigue which in turn lowers concentration, innovation anddecision making at work. Tension headaches, irritation, frustration, upset stomachs, low blood sugar, colds andnegativity all damage mental focus and obstruct the positive flow of communications, teamwork and informationexchange necessary for normal business operations.Less serious illness. We forget that many major debilitating illnesses like heart disease, diabetes, ulcers,hypertension, colitis, cancers and a host of immune system deficiencies usually began as stress symptoms thatescalate because they are not successfully dissolved in a timely fashion.That was before 9/11. Companies and individuals across America are already experiencing up to a four-foldincrease in absenteeism, doctor visits and prescription utilization since. Six months after 9/11, a protracted war onterrorism, anthrax scares in the mail and sustained economic downturns have much of Americas workforce nowliving above their stress thresholds. A true cure for stress could prevent these huge cost increases and preventinevitable further damage simply by "resetting" peoples internal milieu back to calm—quickly and repeatedlythroughout the day as needed. Gains in mental focus, energy and performance quality are the resulting side effects.