Zombie nation: Third of adults walking around in concussion-like daze due to stress, lack of sleep

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COLUMBUS, Ohio — Here’s a pretty good reason to make sure you’re getting enough rest and relaxation in your life. More than a third of people are walking around with the same symptoms as concussion due to stress and lack of sleep, suggests a new study.

A survey of more than 31,000 people shows that insufficient sleep, mental health problems, and stress were the causes of a whole host of symptoms doctors are used to seeing in head injury patients. Symptoms of what doctors call post-concussion syndrome (PCS) range from persistent headaches, dizziness and anxiety, to insomnia and loss of concentration and memory.

While 27 percent of people report having several of these symptoms, between one-half and three-quarters say they experience at least one. The most common symptoms are fatigue, low energy and drowsiness. Yet despite their findings, researchers believe the number in the general population could be much higher.

The study, funded by the National Collegiate Athletic Association and the US military, was designed to improve care for athletes and soldiers who suffered concussions. A total of 2,039 military service academy cadets and 18,548 student athletes were surveyed.

“The numbers were high, and were consistent with previous research in this area, but it is quite shocking,” says study lead author Dr. Jaclyn Caccese, assistant professor in The Ohio State University School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, in a statement. “These are elite athletes who are physically fit, and they are experiencing that many symptoms commonly reported following concussion. So looking across the general population, they’d probably have even more.”



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