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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 June 2006, 15:50 GMT 16:50 UK
Stress at work makes men ill
Men use alcohol to deal with problems
One in three men turn to drink to cope with stress at work
British men are suffering high rates of stress and depression due to overwork, a survey suggests.

More than one in three men turn to alcohol to try and switch off from work and 17% have been to see a doctor about their stress levels.

Experts said men were making themselves ill by not facing up to problems and using drink as a coping strategy.

The poll of 2,200 men found the highest levels of stress in the legal profession and banking and finance.

More than a quarter of men are suffering from exhaustion as a result of stress and 38% are dissatisfied with their jobs, with a third feeling that their company rarely recognises their achievements.

"Men tend to go to the pub, blot it out and they don't talk to anyone about their problems"
Professor Cary Cooper, stress expert

One in five men have aggressive outbursts as a result of stress at work and 22% suffer from depression because they are unhappy with their jobs.

Pressures at work led to sleeping problems in 35% of men and 40% struggle to switch off from work.

Professor Cary Cooper, professor of organisational psychology and health at Lancaster University, said men didn't seek help because they didn't want to be seen as "weak".

"If you look at stress-related illnesses, such as heart disease, mental ill health, immune system diseases, they are higher in men.

"Women probably have double the pressures of men but their rates of illness are lower because they have better coping strategies.

"Men tend to go to the pub, blot it out and they don't talk to anyone about their problems."

Work problems

Professor Cooper welcomed the fact that one in six men had visited their GP because of stress but said problems in the workplace needed to be addressed.

"Jobs are less secure than ever before, people are working longer hours and they are being micromanaged," he said.

"Don't stay in a job you don't like because it will make you ill.

"Seek employers that are more responsible to people and take control."

The survey, commissioned by the makers of Wellman vitamins, also found that stress was affecting men's love life.

Around 15% of men said they suffered from a lowered sex drive and 5% had sexual impotence as a direct result of stress at work.

GP Dr Rob Hicks said: "Stress can be responsible for real physical symptoms but many men don't make this link.

"They often just keep worrying about the symptoms they are experiencing but don't do anything about them, so they find themselves in a vicious cycle that makes matters worse.

"Even if they do acknowledge that stress may be responsible for how they are feeling, although they shouldn't feel afraid or embarrassed to seek help many still do feel this way and keep on suffering in silence."

Bob Patton, a researcher from the Action on Addiction Alcohol campaign group, said: "We know that men often turn to alcohol when they feel stressed because they think it will make them feel better but drinking too much alcohol will actually exacerbate the stress that they are feeling.

"If you are drinking alcohol every night as a coping mechanism for stress it will really creep up on you until it starts causing other problems including anxiety, depression as well as other health conditions."

Stress: A blight on modern life
06 Sep 05 |  Health

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