Sunday, December 6, 2020

Recognizing When It Is More Than Stress


It is normal to be nervous in stressful situations. But stressors, such as the breakup of a marriage or the loss of a loved one, can make existing psychological problems worse or lead to a new problem. For example, stress often aggravates or triggers depression.

Stress is also commonly associated with anxiety disorders. People with anxiety disorders feel fearful, uneasy or distressed even when there is not an obvious reason for it. Psychotherapy, medications or both can help relieve this distress.

The most common stress-related anxiety disorders include:

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

People who worry a lot and are nervous almost every day for six months or more may have generalized anxiety disorder. This is especially true if the worry seems to exceed what the situation warrants. Worries may be over money, health, work or safety issues, or they may be more general.

People with generalized anxiety disorder typically experience three or more of these symptoms:

  • Difficulties concentrating
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue (even without much exertion)
  • Tense muscles
  • Restlessness

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a condition brought on by an exceptionally traumatic event, one that is relived, sometimes with intrusive thoughts, intense memories or nightmares. Likely candidates include:

  • People who have served in wars
  • Victims of natural disasters, crime or violent acts
  • Those who have been threatened with serious injury, illness or death

People suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder frequently avoid situations and places that remind them of the trauma. They can experience a numbing of their emotions, and often feel detached from others. They have persistent symptoms that include:

  • Sleeping difficulties
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Hypervigilance
  • An exaggerated response to stress

Acute Stress Disorder

People with acute stress disorder generally have experiences and symptoms similar to people with post-traumatic stress disorder, with one exception: Those with acute stress disorder experience the symptoms for a relatively short period of time (under a month). In addition, symptoms begin soon after the traumatic event, whereas those of post-traumatic stress disorder may begin months or even years after the event.


  1. Kat

    What is stress? Why is it essential for you to know how stress affects your mind and body?

    Stress is the energy applied to any object. The result of the stress is that the object either bends or moves with the pressure of the stressor or it can break with the pressure applied.

    Take your finger and push it against the skin of a banana. You are placing stress on the banana and when you pull back the peel there may or may not be a bruise. The banana reacts to the pressure of a stressor.

    Stress is the epidemic of the 21st century. Stress affects our mental, physical and spiritual well being. Stress can rob us from experiencing real happiness.

    Stress is natural and is an essential part of life. Our stress response is designed to protect and preserve our lives. Stress is as much a part of life as breathing, eating and drinking water. There is a reason for stress. Each stressor that we may perceive as an obstacle is actually an opportunity for growth. We need a certain amount of stress in our lives for us to function at optimal levels. Positive stress motivates and drives us as we look forward to a new opportunity or new possibilities in our lives.

    Chronic stress is like a thief in the night and can rob us of the opportunity of living a life of happiness. Reaching our full potential in our lives can be stopped by the stress of our fears.

    You know the consequences if you neglect a wound or sore; it gets worse and can eventually lead to gangrene and amputation, or even worse, cost you your life. Stress will get worse if you ignore it and don’t respect the gift it is offering you. Denying stress, like denying a wound, can make you rot on physical, mental and spiritual levels.

    Stress is your guide and can be a gift. Stress is your teacher. Stress is telling us to pay attention to a certain part of our life. Chronic stress demands our attention and will continue to progress until we give it the respect it deserves. The more we live in denial or run from our stress, the insidious ways our stress will discover to get our attention.

Medically trained in the UK. Writes on the subjects of injuries, healthcare and medicine. Contact me

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