Anxiety, depression and PTSD: The hidden epidemic of data breaches and cyber crimes

Jessica Guynn reports on the impact of breaches:

Mental health professionals say data breaches and other cyber crimes are increasingly taking a heavy psychological toll on the millions of Americans whose personal information is plundered by fraudsters.

It’s not just the nightmarish process of clearing your name and credit history or the struggle to get credit or loans, housing, employment or medical services after a breach. Victims wrestle with feelings of powerlessness and vulnerability. Their sleep can be disrupted, energy levels decrease. They self-medicate with alcohol, drugs or food. For some, the aftereffects are more severe: bouts of depression and anxiety, even post-traumatic stress disorder.

Read more on USA Today. Keep in mind whether they are talking about people who have actually experienced identity theft or those who are at risk of it.

I can see these data and reports being incorporated in future class action lawsuits — that lawyers will now claim that their clients are demonstrably at greater risk of all these psychological and health problems, so let’s be very clear about the quality and controls of any research.

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