Everyone experiences stress from time to time, whether it be through our workload, moving house, personal issues – to name but a few. However, if it prolongs you may be putting your mental and physical health at risk. Often stress manifests itself in mental and physical symptoms.
For example, the mental symptoms include:
- behaviour changes
- craving food
- feeling tired
- loss of appetite
- unable to concentrate
Physical manifestations can include:
- Biting nails
- Chest pains
- Constipation (or Diarrhoea)
- Difficulty Sleeping
- Feeling faint
- Loss of sexual desire or Erectile dysfunction
- Muscle spasms and cramps
- Pins and needles
- Sore muscles
The first step, with every mental issue, is to talk to someone and be willing to seek help. Once you have done this you may be sent for counselling. Do not be alarmed by this referral as it is a very common intervention for dealing with stress. The counselling psychologist, or counsellor will talk through your stress with the aim of identifying any triggers and will help you to reduce your stress levels. All counselling discussions are led by you and will take as long as you need to feel comfortable.
Alternatively, medication may be prescribed to you by your doctor. If your stress leads to depression it can cause the neurotransmitters to function incorrectly. A range of drugs with different aims can be used to help the neurotransmitters function at normal levels again. Some will help you relax and calm down, others relax your brain, some are antidepressants and others may be beta blockers.
Finally depending on how your stress manifests itself, you may be referred for stress management techniques such as CBT. This can especially be the case if your stress results in anger or violence.
It is important to address stress as other conditions such as high blood pressure, asthma, stomach and small intestine ulcers, insomnia, depression, anxiety, rheumatoid arthritis, or hyperthyroidism can develop.
As mentioned in our anxiety page, there are some interventions that you can implement in a bid to prevent stress. For example, smoking, alcohol and caffeine act as stimulants and exacerbate how stressed you may get. It is highly recommended that healthy eating, exercise, and relaxing techniques are explored.