(DAILYMAIL) — Perfectionism – setting yourself high standards at home or work – is seen as laudable. But research suggests it has a dark flipside, causing not just psychological stress as perfectionists feels the weight of pressure to be perfect, but physical harm – irritable bowel disease (IBS), insomnia, heart disease and even early death.

Experts such as Dr Danielle Molnar, a psychologist at Brock University, Canada, are suggesting perfectionism should be considered as a risk factor for disease in the same way as obesity and smoking.

‘We’re always promoting perfectionism and its benefits of academic and professional achievement, but it’s such a strong factor for so many illnesses, including increased infection and early death, that I think it should be considered by doctors as part of a patient’s long-term health,’ says Dr Molnar.

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