Hospital admissions for stress and anxiety have risen by more than a quarter in the past decade,
Statistics reveal almost 15,000 cases were admitted in 2017/18 – up from just 11,500 in 2007/08.
The steepest rise was among white collar workers, with a 37 per cent increase in the number of admissions for stress and anxiety over ten years.
The rise in smartphone culture is thought to be to blame as checking emails outside of working hours means professionals never really switch off.
Smartphones have driven hospital admissions for stress and anxiety to rise by 37 per cent among professionals in the past decade as people never ‘switch off’, NHS figures reveal (stock)
Problems related to stress and anxiety made up 44 per cent of all work-related illnesses last year, which has increased by 34 per cent over the past decade.
And the most serious cases, which lead to hospital admissions, have risen by 28 per cent.
This has resulted in a loss of more than 15million working days over the past year, which has cost the British economy almost £8billion.
The analysis was carried out by the slipper firm Mahabis. Its founder, Ankur Shah, said: ‘Stress and anxiety is now a problem that we – as individuals, and as a country – can’t afford to ignore.
WHAT IS ANXIETY?
Anxiety is a normal part of life that affects different people in different ways at different times.
Whereas stress can come and go, anxiety often persists and does not always have an obvious cause.
Along with depression, anxiety is among the most common mental-health condition in the UK, affecting 8.2million people in 2013 alone.
Around 40million adults suffer from the condition in the US every year.
Anxiety can make a person imagine things in their life are worse than they are or that they are going mad.
Although it evolved as part of the ‘fight or flight’ mechanism in our caveman days to avoid danger, anxiety can be inappropriately activated in everyday life when stress builds up.
It can have a clear cause, such as moving house or having surgery. However, sometimes little life events build up until a person is unable to cope, with anxiety then taking them by surprise.
Physical symptoms can include:
- Increased heart rate and muscle tension
- Hyperventilation and dizziness
- A tight band across the chest
- Tension headaches
- Hot flushes
- ‘Jelly legs’
- Feeling like you are choking
- Tingling in the hands and feet
Some psychological symptoms are:
- Thinking you are going mad or losing control
- Thinking you may die or get ill
- Feeling people are staring at you
- Feeling detached from others or on edge
Treatment often involves counselling or cognitive behavioural therapy.
Activates like yoga, exercise, reading and socialising can help to manage anxiety.
‘Increasingly, people are feeling that they can’t cope with the stresses of modern life, but at the same time they don’t feel they have permission to switch off.
‘That’s why today we are launching the Downtime Movement – encouraging people to recognise the importance of switching off and taking time for themselves.
‘We strongly believe that the benefits will not only be felt by individuals, but by businesses and society as a whole too.’
Recent evidence suggests increased stress at work is a key driver of anxiety. Data from the Office of National Statistics Labour Force Survey reveals that anxiety cases increased by 34 per cent from 444,000 in 2007/08 to 595,000 in 2017/18.
As well as the devastating impact mental-health disorders have on the individual, they also affect businesses.
The ONS survey found a staggering 115,913,000 work days have been lost over the past decade due to stress and anxiety. Deloitte estimates this costs the economy £7.9billion a year.
A Trades Union Congress survey of health and safety representatives from earlier this year found that nearly seven in ten cite stress as a problem in their workforce.
A separate analysis of GP fit notes – issued when someone is off work ill for more than seven days – found that 885,448 were given out in 2017/18 for mental or behavioural disorders.
There was even a six per cent increase in the number of notes given out for neurotic or stress-related disorders from 2016/17 to just 2017/18.
This comes after a study released earlier this year by the Mental Health Foundation revealed that of its 4,619 participants, 74 per cent admitted to feeling so stressed they became overwhelmed and unable to cope.
Of those who felt stressed, 51 per cent went on to develop depression while 61 per cent reported feeling anxious.
Feeling like they had to respond to messages instantly was a stress trigger for 12 per cent of the participants.
Along with depression, anxiety is among the most common mental-health condition in the UK, affecting 8.2million people in 2013 alone, according to the charity No Panic.
And one in six people experience a mental-health problem in the workplace, which is responsible for 12.7 per cent of all sick days.