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Killer stress won’t leave them alone

On an average, a candidate puts in about eight to 10 hours of daily campaigning for himself and his party. Most of this time is spent travelling in and around the constituency, reports Rhythma Kaul. See full coverage.

delhi Updated: Nov 16, 2008 23:53 IST
Rhythma Kaul

Ever wondered how much stress our politicians have to endure, especially during elections?

On an average, a candidate puts in about eight to 10 hours of daily campaigning for himself and his party. Most of this time is spent travelling in and around the constituency and holding meetings with party workers.

Mourning the death of BJP MLA Puranchand Yogi, his colleague, on Sunday, BJP Delhi president Dr Harsh Vardhan said: “He (Yogi) must have been under tremendous physical stress. After all, he was in his 70s. I am 20 years younger, but feel extremely exhausted with the hectic campaigning schedule.”

A close aide of Dr AK Walia, a three-time MLA from Laxmi Nagar, agreed. “Doctor sa'ab leaves home at eight in the morning and is back only after midnight almost daily these days. He has a pretty hectic schedule that is exhausting. But that’s how he has been working always,” said Satish Bhatia.

Apart from the long work hours that they have, improper diet and an irregular sleep pattern also affect their health. The pressure of winning and the uncertainty linked to it are a perfect recipe for anxiety-related disorders, say doctors. The young brigade of politicians is still better placed as compared to their older counterparts, who are at a greater risk of developing anxiety-related disorders.

"There are certain moments when stress levels increase in any individual, especially on moments that impact his or her career. Same is the case with politicians contesting elections, for whom the uncertainty also is very high," said Dr Samir Parikh, Consultant Psychiatrist, Max Healthcare. "And for politicians, it's also extremely stressful because a lot is at stake for them,” he said.

Some doctors think how one handles stress makes all the difference. Not every individual gets stressed out in a particular situation, but once stress is there, it affects the physiology of a person. “It pervades all spheres of your life and can give you problems like high blood pressure, high heart beat rate and in some cases even heart-attack,” said Dr AK Bisoi, a senior cardiac surgeon at AIIMS.