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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

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 doctor.

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