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Unemployment: The psychological consequences

Unemployment is a modern ill that strikes at the very core of people’s identities

Unemployment is a sign of the times in Greece with huge consequences for a large number of people in Greek society and their families. A number of people face a deadlock with huge consequences. Unemployment however doesn’t just strike at the social infrastructure or just harm people’s wallets. Unemployment affects the internal lives of people, harming them both psychologically and physically.

Psychological consequences vary according to the age and gender of the unemployed person.

Young people, especially men, become angry and turn against the society. People of an older age feel disorientated and afraid. They view unemployment as a personal failure rather than a social ill.

The feelings of unemployed people are the same as those who feel loss and mourning. Generally, they feel:

* Fear and insecurity. The future looks glum and there’s a sense of distress and pessimism.

* Stress. There may be psychosomatic illnesses. This is especially the case when the unemployed person has other people in their care.

* Anger.  There may be fits of rage. Society and family members may feel the rage of pent-up frustration that an unemployed person feels or they may turn against themselves and there rage may have a self-destructive character.

* Sorrow. Sadness may be so intense that the person may feel depression and frustration. Unfortunately, unemployment in Greece is starting to affect the suicide rate.

* Feelings of inadequacy. Unemployment affects the way someone sees themselves. Their self-image is struck and unemployed people may experience self-esteem issues.

* Shame. Realizing that society uses professions as a type of identification, the unemployed person may feel ashamed of being in such a situation. After all, one of the first things we ask a person upon meeting them is the line of work they do. Without employment, the person (especially in the case of males) may feel as though they “don’t exist”.

* Isolation. The feelings of shame and inadequacy may cause a person to avoid social gatherings and start to withdraw. The reclusion can worsen and social exclusion may follow as the work environment is a basic place of socialization.

* Body health. Unemployment harms people both psychologically and physically. Smoking and drinking may exacerbate as a result of unemployment. The chronically unemployed are also more likely to gamble and use drugs.

* Relationship problems. The inability to find work and secure income can cause problems in people’s relationships with their families and partners.

Do you have a problem that concerns you? Our resident psychotherapist Zeta Stravopodi is willing to address any personal matters. E-mail her on z.stravopodi@gmail.com

Zoe Stravopodi-Gianno works as a psychotherapist and offers advice to individuals, couples and families. She also coordinates groups interested in achieving self-awareness and personal growth. In 2012, she established “Parents School” to give parents advice as to how to navigate the choppy waters of parenthood regarding the healthy emotional growth of their children.