Sticker Shock Stress Can Lead to Medical Problems

By: Kristen Ross Email
By: Kristen Ross Email

Families feeling the stress from their current financial situation, is becoming a new trend.

A new poll has found that people reporting high debt stress can have digestive problems, migraines, and even a heart attack.

One local family is not only feeling the pinch in the pocketbook, but also the price pressure of gas and groceries.

Debra Barney says at the end of the month she and her husband are looking at how much they've spent. Although the family is spending less on trips to town, extra-curricular activities, and even junk food, there are still two places where they have no control. Those are now eating away at their income.

"How are we going to pay for this with prices going up as it is," Barney asked while in the aisle at a local grocery store.

That is a question on everyone's mind. Figuring out how to make ends meet, when only one end is seeing a change.

"That's what scares me. That's what's frightening is I see that gas prices are probably going to keep going up, and that everything is going to keep going up," Barney said. "It's frightening because our money, our salaries aren't going up."

Barney lives in Iola and travels more than 30 miles just to do her grocery shopping here in Bryan. A trip she now makes only once every few weeks because of all the extra costs.

"I used to just grab what I needed, now I'm paying a lot more attention to what the prices are," Barney said.

Some of the biggest prices catching her attention are two of the most common household food items: bread and milk. For Debra's five person family, both are gone before she even knows it.

"Right now I have three gallons of milk in my refrigerator and that won't last more than a couple of days," Barney said. "Especially here in the summer when everyone is home they'll go in and grab a glass of milk."

Milk, that at $3.99 a gallon adds up real fast.

"We're stressed, my husband and I just sitting and talking about it. So I can see where some people on a tight budget are getting very stressed," Barney said.

The Barney family's stress is about to get a little worse too. Within the next few weeks they will have two additional people hitting the roads. Their teenage son and daughter will be getting their licenses, and filling up two extra gas tanks.

Experts say financial stress can lead to some very real medical problems down the road.

"Any kind of stress can lead to any body function that can affect you whether it's ulcers, high blood pressure, even the immune system is being affected," Psychologist Frances Kimbrough said.

Experts say to help alleviate all of the price pressure, you should budget your expenses ahead of time, talk to a debt counselor if you're getting in too deep, and try to still make some time for some fun activities for you and your family that are inexpensive and that allow you to relax.

KBTX-TV Channel 3 4141 E. 29th Street Bryan, TX 77802 Phone: (979) 846-7777 Fax: (979) 846-1490 News Fax: (979) 846-1888
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