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

Jessica Guynn USA TODAY

Feb. 21, 2020

After a restorative getaway last July – a week in Stockholm, another exploring Norway’s fjords and a picturesque hike deep into the peaceful wilds of western Sweden’s forests – Christopher Lane returned home to his Chicago condo and an overflowing mailbox.

A nondescript envelope stamped “Important Update – Open Immediately” caught his attention. Inside was an alarming notice that his medical and financial information had been stolen.

“As the news sank in, I felt dizzy with shock,” said Lane, 53, a professor of English and the medical humanities at Northwestern University.

Details of the data breach were scarce. The company had filed for bankruptcy. Advice from a helpline was “next to useless,” Lane says. He had no way of knowing how much of his data had been compromised or what the consequences would be.

Lane channeled his helplessness and frustration into Side Effects, his mental health and public health blog at Psychology Today, to help others in similar predicaments and raise awareness.

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