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International Healthcare News: Mild stress 'could contribute to disability'

International health insurance customers might be interested to learn that even mild levels of stress can contribute to long-term disability.

According to recent research conducted by academics at the University of Bristol and the Karolinkska Institutet in Stockholm, people with stress conditions are more likely to require long-term disability benefits.

The team looked at 17,000 working-age adults, randomly selected from the population around the Stockholm area.

Following them from 2002 to 2007, they found that the impacts of milder stress may previously have been underestimated.

Dr Dheeraj Rai, lead author and clinical lecturer at Bristol, commented: "We know conditions such as depression and anxiety disorders are very disabling.

"But in a lot of people stress-related symptoms are not severe enough to meet the thresholds to be diagnosed with these conditions. The study found that these people were also at an increased risk of long-term disability."

Around 649 people of those studied were found to have received long-term disability benefits at some point.

Those who had demonstrated mild stress at the beginning of the research were significantly more likely to be one of the people on benefits.

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