Doctors now have a precautionary warning for those who regularly invest in the stock market: watch out for any signs of mental and physical ailments that coincide with the ups and downs of the markets. Financial reporter, Frank Feng, found he had transformed into a completely different person after he started spending more time investing in stocks. He used to be a workaholic with an active social life—now he’s been reduced to this tremendously jittery and moody man who could fall apart any second. If his stocks failed to go up, his temper would flare up disturbingly. He would become incandescent—he’d be throwing tantrums, screaming out for no good reason. As the stocks continued to bear, Feng became increasingly depressed. Feng recalled, “For several days after the fall happened, I was so depressed and regretful that I did not want to do anything or say one word.” It came to the point that his family asked for him to see a therapist.
He merely wanted to reel in more cash when the stock market in China was at its peak during April. Unfortunately for him, the worst had happened—the stock market crashed, and he lost an equivalent of 9,666 dollars in yuan. That amount was half of his complete investment, which also happened to be nearly everything he had saved up.
The stock market in China has seen its frequent ups and downs in the past months, and it has been one heck of a roller coaster for its investors. One minute they’re in pure bliss, and the next they’ve hit rock bottom. It’s become so prevalent and so severe that it’s even garnered itself a name—“stock market anxiety syndrome.” It’s defined as the physical and emotional manifestations that investors experience due to occurrences in the stock market.
In 2014, National Taipei University conducted a study to determine if stock prices actually do make people “go crazy.” It was the first ever research study that was meant to specifically examine the correlation between mental disorders and the never-ending turbulence of the stock market. They discovered a direct link connecting the instability of stock prices and the number of individuals that were committed to the hospital for psychological consultations and treatments. Statistically speaking, there was a 0.36 percent increase in the daily records of people being admitted to the hospital due to mental issues, caused by a mere 1 percent drop in the Taiwan Stock Exchange Capitalization Weighted Stock Index. Furthermore, a fall of 1000 points in the stocks spawned a whopping 4.71 percent increase in hospital records for mental disorders every day.
Xin Hua Hospital’s in-house psychologist, Xia Weiping, observed patients who have developed suicidal tendencies purely due to the constant changes in the stock market. According to Xia’s professional opinion, “Investors face a higher risk of anxiety and depression than non-investors. That is because by investing in the stock market, they are obliged to face the possibility of having great losses and great gains that will directly affect the fate.”
However, in Frank Feng’s case, it was not only the dips in stocks that made him feel depressed, but the elevations did as well. Even if his investments were doing well, knowing how volatile and merciless the market was, the crippling anxiety still gnawed at him, to the point that he found himself unable to sleep at night. Though he yearns for the stocks to continue to rise, he also fears that “it is a sweet dream that will immediately end and nightmare crash will indeed come once more.”
Doctor Xia also reported cases where stock investors experienced a sudden and dangerous hike in blood pressure because they had been so overwhelmed with joy at the climb in stock prices. This kind of thing is particularly perilous for people who already suffer from hypertension or heart complications.
Individuals with “emotional instability” and are “more easily influenced by their environment” are more prone to the effects of stock market anxiety syndrome, as per Xia’s deduction. He advises that investors should fully comprehend and retain control of their financial status to keep their health, both mental and physical, in check. One shouldn’t be too greedy, Xia says, as simply daydreaming about becoming rich quick and then subsequently getting disappointed can be detrimental to your health.
The stock market should be approached with complete composure and a proper state of mind. If one were to lose sight of what’s really important in business and life, which is so to say, succeeding and earning fortunes by making smart decisions and working hard, you might end up as another monster that’s been molded from the horrors of the stock market. Be realistic and be smart. The stock numbers you religiously monitor do not control your life. What actually does control your life is your self.