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Health Line

Stress related illness is on the rise, with an increase in compulsive slimming and bulimia particularly noticeable in recent years, A German psychologist has said.

"The causes are frequently harmful images or ideals that are often the expression of social pressure, "psychologist, Thomas Trommer said, "For example, advertising tells people that they have to be perpetually active, slim and achieving," Trommer, who has been involved with psychotherapy for 20 years, added.

The increase of dieting, fitness courses and tanning studios seems to coincide with a rise in eating disorders. "People often feel that in their everyday lives, they cannot acknowledge feeling of failure, weakness or loss, because they would then not be coming up to expectations. These attitudes are acquired in early childhood and are thus difficult to break."

Stress reactions occur when people have to deal with a situation which requires more than their normal capacity at a particular point. The psychologist divides symptoms of stress into two categories: muscular tension is often responsible for headaches and back pains. At the psychological level this leads to a reduction in the capacity for thinking and perception.

Stress can also have an effect on hormonal reactions, leading to heart and circulatory problems, stomach problems, immune system disorders or sexual problems. Trommer emphasized that stress cannot be avoided, adding that striking a healthy balance between work and play is important.

"Taking note of stress symptoms in good time and self-critical examination of established life patterns can prevent stress from turning into illness."

(As reported in The Hindu Business Lines)

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