When does stress become a medical condition and how can the risks be managed

We all know the feeling, sweaty palms, dry mouth, heart beating – the signs of ‘nerves’.  Perhaps  before a presentation, an interview or an important meeting.  ‘Nerves’ or stress affect us all, a little pressure can be good, making us more alert and responsive, but too much leads to declining performance and potentially the inability to function.

In particular for those in the entertainment industry with heavy tour schedules and live performances to large audiences, the question is at what point does stress become a medical condition and the artist is unable to perform.

Dr Rai who specialises in Anxiety and Stress Management and the London General Practice recently presented on the topic to an audience of insurers and underwriters at Ince&Co International Law Firm.

“In some respects stress and anxiety are subjective measures and the outcome is dependent on several factors including the subjects own personal resilience.  However, what we do know is that there are strong physiological links between stress, anxiety, and an individual’s ability to function correctly which can in extreme cases prevent them performing.

We also know that there are several factors which may make a person more susceptible to becoming severely impacted by stress or anxiety.  These include their lifestyle, sleep patterns, alcohol, workload, underlying physical health as well as genetic or hereditary pre-dispositions.

By undertaking a pre-commencement health check it is possible to start to identify those individuals who may be at more risk of suffering from the acute consequences of severe stress and anxiety.  We do this through a variety of screening tools and tests as part of a Doctor led consultation.

Early identification is important because it not only helps underwriters understand the risk associated, but also allows for active management.  As a Practice we are able to assist individuals, manage their levels of stress and anxiety, and general well-being in order to help avoid cancellations.  We can also help with practical and nutritional changes to lifestyle, as well as medical intervention.

Whilst this is a complex area there is a lot we can do to help identify the issues early and proactively manage the situation in order to reduce the consequences of stress related cancellations.”

The London General Practice specialises in providing medical services to the entertainments industry.  They can assist with pre-tour screening medicals to help determine risk, intervene during a tour to help manage stress and anxiety, and provide expert advice to underwriters following cancellations.

If you would like to contact the London General Practice please telephone 020 7935 1000 or email us at info@thelondongeneralpractice.com

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