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Florida Foreclosure Stress Manifests Itself in Health Problems

There is no question the foreclosure process can be a stressful one. Even when homeowners prevail, the emotional toll can be enormous, and sometimes, that translates to physical ailments as well.
Recently, the Tampa Bay Times reported on a case in which a South Florida man, awaiting a hearing on the pending of his home foreclosure, collapsed in the courtroom and died. He was 67. His wife, 10 years his junior, was by his side when it happened. Deputies rushed to the man’s aid and performed CPR until emergency services arrived and transported him to a nearby hospital. There, he was pronounced dead at 9:45 a.m.

While court officials say medical calls are not uncommon, none could recall anyone dying.

“Obviously, there’s a lot of stress here,” said a court operations divisions supervisor for the sheriff’s office.

The man’s home had gone into foreclosure last year, and he was fighting to save it. The medical examiner has not yet ruled on an exact cause of death, but it’s well-established that stress has the potential to be fatal.

Foreclosures, in particular, have proven to be harmful to one’s health. Consider the study conducted by researchers at Johns Hopkins University. At the height of the housing crisis, researchers analyzed the effect foreclosures were having on people’s health. What they discovered was that in the hardest-hit states, stress-related ailments were up significantly.

In Florida, for example, people who were enduring or had recently endured a foreclosure had higher rates of depression, heart trouble, nausea and high blood pressure. Researchers said they were in the process of establishing a causal connection, which they deemed relatively strong. As the number of foreclosures rose, so too did the number of people who were ill.

In other words: Foreclosures were – and still are – making Floridians sick.

As evidence, the Sun Sentinel chronicled the respective ailments of a husband-and-wife who had just endured a foreclosure/eviction. In the months since, the husband had a heart attack, and had to stop working. He then began to battle stress and sleeplessness and suffered a stroke. Meanwhile, his wife lost 45 pounds – becoming gaunt – and also suffered stress-related diabetes complications, which included not only high blood sugar, but chronic pain in her feet and hands and eye trouble.

Said the wife, “Worry makes things that much more serious,” noting stress seemed a disease in and of itself.

Indeed, psychologists say stress can result in things like sleeplessness, racing heartbeat, high blood pressure, more colds and flu, increased bouts with asthma, panic attacks, irritability, outbursts and feelings of depression and hopelessness.

Another study conducted by the Bureau of Economic Research found in five states with high foreclosure rates, there were:

  • 12 percent more hospital visits for anxiety.
  • 8 percent more reported complications for diabetes.
  • 7 percent more reports of hypertension.
  • 8 percent more reports of stress-related ailments, including fever, abdominal pain and nausea.

It doesn’t help that some people attempt to self-medicate, and end up binge-drinking and smoking.

In the case of the aforementioned couple, they indicated once they received assistance from a credit agency, their health problems began to fade.

Those of us who work closely with victims of foreclosure in Florida know these kinds of problems are common. This is why we so strongly urge people to contact a foreclosure lawyer with experience. The peace of mind that can provide is truly immeasurable.

If you’re battling debt collection in Miami or the surrounding areas contact Jacobs Legal for a confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call (305) 358-7991. Also, don’t miss Miami Foreclosure Attorney Bruce Jacobs on 880AM/the Biz, every Tuesday at 6 p.m. on “Debt Warriors with Bruce Jacobs and Court Keeley,” discussing foreclosure topics that matter to YOU.

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