Majority of British women suffer from stress-related Hurried Woman Syndrome
January 10, 2005
Three quarters of British women suffer from the stress-related Hurried Woman Syndrome. The condition is caused by a relentless round of taking care of everybody but themselves.
Millions aged 25 to 55 fall victim to fatigue, increased appetite and a lack of interest in sex as they battle to balance the demands of work and family.
This in turn causes weight gain, guilt, insomnia and low self-esteem.
Chronic stress is believed to trigger the syndrome, causing a chemical imbalance in levels of the brain's happy hormone, serotonin.
And the symptoms can have a huge effect, leading to depression or other serious illness.
Prima magazine found 74 per cent of those surveyed suffered from Hurried Woman Syndrome.
Prima editor Maire Fahey said: 'This is an alarming wake up call for all us women.
'The fact that most of us feel rushed, frazzled and stressed out so much of the time is hardly news - but the realisation of what this is actually doing to our bodies and minds is scary.
'It is time we made more time for ourselves. We need to make life a little simpler and remember that our own wellbeing should be top of the list, not bottom.'
Doctors are recommending busy working mums stop trying to achieve the impossible.
Brent Bost, the Texan doctor who identified the problem, said: 'Stop hurrying. Do the things Gran would have told you to do. Basically, slow down and smell the roses, set priorities and realise you have limits.
'Hand in your Superwoman cape and admit, 'I can't do everything to please everyone else anymore.' 'Men learned a long time ago to have hobbies. Women have children instead. That's not a hobby.'
Dr Bost estimates that 60 million US women suffer HWS.
Symptoms include feeling exhausted - even after eight hours sleep - - watching TV all night because you are too tired to do anything else, and lacking motivation.
Sufferers also frequently snap at their family and would rather read a book than have sex.
They comfort eat, find the weight they put on difficult to shift and have trouble sleeping.
They often feel worthless, low and guilty for feeling so bad.
These symptoms are common to other ailments, such as anaemia or depression.
So experts recommend women should first see their doctor to rule out other possibilities before tackling the problem themselves.
The one thing women must NOT do is ignore how they feel.
Sufferers are advised to start their revival by making a daily list of priorities they can tackle in the coming hours - and sticking to it.
Chores should be delegated to children, partners or colleagues.
Women should also try to exercise and get eight hours sleep a night.
Vitally, they should set aside a few minutes just for themselves - maybe at lunchtime or before sitting down to dinner.
Source: Daily Herald, 06/01/2005
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