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There’s nothing particularly rural in this story we saw in the Boston Globe. It’s just interesting. Stephen Smith reports that hospital admissions are way up now over a similar period last year and doctors are blaming the economy. “In hospital wards and medical clinics across Massachusetts, doctors see growing evidence that the ill economy is making patients sick, spawning headaches and churning stomachs, and even causing bouts of anxiety and depression among people who never before sought psychiatric help,” Smith writes.
The McLean hospital, one of the nation’s best psychiatric institutions, 31 percent more patients were admitted last month than in December 2007. “I’ve been stunned by how pervasive the impact of the current economic downturn is on the health of my brood,” said Dr. Stephen Hoffmann, whose medical practice in Framingham has nearly 3,000 patients.
Some patients are cutting back on medication to save money. (Smith found this to be particularly true for people with psychiatric troubles.) Others may not be eating as many fruits and vegetables, gobbling down more processed, salty foods that raise blood pressure. People who had managed to find a time and place for exercise during good times were back in their no exercise ways now. Still others drink more alcohol. “The addiction business is booming,” said one do