Job Loss Can Make You Sick

Today's Situation May Be Worse Than Before

Still, Strully's data is based on situations from the 1990s and early 2000s, when the economic climate was not as universally challenging as it is now. People who lost their jobs may have been in a better position to find alternate employment or receive financial help via credit, mortgages or family and friends.

"We were looking at a situation where the economy was better than now and there were still sizable health hazards associated with job loss," Strully said. "Common sense suggests that the situation today for displaced workers is probably worse."

Strully attempted to correct for the potential lack of access to health care and medication following job loss caused by decreased income and no health benefits by choosing subjects that reported good health, but acknowledged that those issues could have played a role in how people reported their health following job loss.

But even when the study subjects were covered by insurance, their health problems changed.

"Just having health insurance did not negate the negative effects of job loss," Strully said.

Support Is The Best Defense

Though it is difficult, Gaebelein manages to have enough money to pay for her antidepressants. In addition, she takes medication for high blood pressure and a hyperthyroid condition.

"I'm living kind of on a shoestring. ... It's tough sometimes for me to get the money to get it together," Gaebelein said. "There's been times where I've had to wait a few days to get [medication]. But I always get it."

Gaebelein said her doctor sometimes saves drug samples for her because she is aware of her financial condition. Such support is one of the most important factors in recovering from losing one's job and staying motivated to continue looking for new employment.

"In this current climate, everybody is taking one or several steps down," Sternberg said. "To the extent that you can, reach out to others and get that support you need."

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