Letter: Stress by any other name

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The Independent Online
Sir: Are we to take seriously the extraordinary statement that '. . . there is no evidence that stress exists at all' ('Stress? That went out with the Eighties', 2 February)? Your dismissal of stress as a concept seems to be based on pure semantics. Stress is, after all, just another word that can be abused like any other.

There are indeed concerns that companies are claiming to reduce employee illness simply by running weekend courses, when therapy realistically has to be one-to- one. The medical evidence linking stress and illness is mounting, not diminishing. In my own stress clinic I see daily how often physical illness is psychologically stress- based and therefore potentially curable using the mind. This represents a huge challenge for preventative medicine.

I can only conclude that if the psychologists quoted feel that the concept of stress has a serious clothes deficit then they have been looking in the wrong laundry.

Yours faithfully,



3 February