The relentless news of layoffs, lost retirement savings and other repercussions from the recession could be giving you more than the temporary blues. All over the country people are feeling the affects of financial strain in the form of insomnia, worry, agitation and feelings of helplessness or hopelessness. About one-third of Americans undergoing home foreclosure reported symptoms of major depression, according to a new University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. It?s a phenomenon becoming so common mental health professionals have dubbed it ?debt depression.?
?Debt depression is unique to our times and it?s becoming an epidemic,? says Judith Orloff, M.D., a psychiatrist at UCLA and author of Emotional Freedom: Liberate Yourself from Negative Emotions and Transform Your Life. ?People are depressed about their finances, about losing their jobs, about not being able to pay off their debt, and they can get into a victim role because none of it is fair.? After all, you can be performing brilliantly at work and still be laid off or receive a salary cut; you can be making what seem like sound investments and still lose much of your retirement savings or kids? college funds. ?That?s the most frustrating part; you?re taking action but you?re not getting results,? says Dr. Orloff. ?That can lead to feelings of helplessness.?
To protect yourself, take care of your body and your mind by exercising regularly, getting plenty of sleep, exposing yourself to sunlight and fresh air, and by consuming a healthy, balanced diet.