Chronic, low-level inflammation may be a biomarker for PTSD.
People with PTSD are more likely to suffer from diseases involving systemic inflammation (e.g., cardiovascular disease or diabetes) or to have autoimmune disorders such as asthma. For this reason, experts have argued that PTSD may be a mind-body condition involving chronic, low-level systemic inflammation.
Results of the Mental Health Foundation’s 2018 study
The study was an online poll undertaken by YouGov, and had a sample size of 4,619 respondents. This is the largest known study of stress levels in the UK.
- In the past year, 74% of people have felt so stressed they have been overwhelmed or unable to cope.
- 30% of older people reported never feeling overwhelmed or unable to cope in the past year, compared to 7% of young adults.
- 46% reported that they ate too much or ate unhealthily due to stress. 29% reported that they started drinking or increased their drinking, and 16% reported that they started smoking or increased their smoking.
- 51% of adults who felt stressed reported feeling depressed, and 61% reported feeling anxious.
- Of the people who said they had felt stress at some point in their lives, 16% had self harmed and 32% said they had had suicidal thoughts and feelings.
- 37% of adults who reported feeling stressed reported feeling lonely as a result.
Causes of stress
- 36% of all adults who reported stress in the previous year cited either their own or a friend/relative’s long-term health condition as a factor. This rose to 44% of adults over 55.
- Of those who reported feeling stressed in the past year, 22% cited debt as a stressor.
- For people who reported high levels of stress, 12% said that feeling like they need to respond to messages instantly was a stressor.
- 49% of 18-24 year olds who have experienced high levels of stress, felt that comparing themselves to others was a source of stress, which was higher than in any of the older age groups.
- 36% of women who felt high levels of stress related this to their comfort with their appearance and body image, compared to 23% of men.
- Housing worries are a key source of stress for younger people (32% of 18-24 year olds cited it as a source of stress in the past year). This is less so for older people (22% for 45-54 year olds and just 7% for over 55s).
- Younger people have higher stress related to the pressure to succeed. 60% of 18-24 year olds and 41% of 25-34 year olds cited this, compared to 17% of 45-54s and 6% of over 55s).