Know the basics

What is stress?

Stress is a normal psychological and physical reaction to the harmful situations. In other words, stress is your body’s way of responding to any kind of demand or threat. When you feel threatened, your nervous system responds by releasing a flood of stress hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol, which alert you to act the potential injury. Your heart pounds faster, muscles tighten, blood pressure rises, breath quickens, and your senses become sharper. This reaction is called “fight-or-flight,” or the stress response.

At acute form, stress can give you extra strength to defend yourself; for example, or spurring you to slam on the brakes to avoid an accident. Stress can also help you rise to meet challenges. Stress is what keeps you on your toes during a presentation at work, sharpens your concentration when you’re attempting the game-winning free throw, or drives you to study for an exam when you’d rather be watching TV. But beyond your comfort zone, stress stops being helpful and can start causing major damage to your mind and body. In the long run of being repeated exposure to situations – the chronic stress, some serious health problems are at the expense, including:

  • Mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety;
  • Heart disease;
  • Hypertension;
  • Gastrointestinal problems.

How common is stress?

This health condition is extremely common. It can affect patients at any age. It can be managed by reducing your risk factors. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.

Know the symptoms

What are the symptoms of stress?

The common symptoms of stress are cognitive symptoms, emotional symptoms, physical symptoms, and behavioral symptoms.

  • Becoming easily agitated, frustrated, and moody;
  • Feeling overwhelmed, like you are losing control or need to take control;
  • Having difficulty relaxing and quieting your mind;
  • Low self-esteem, lonely, worthless, and depressed;
  • Avoiding others;
  • Low energy;
  • Headaches;
  • Upset stomach;
  • Aches, pains;
  • Insomnia;
  • Constant worrying;
  • Inability to focus;
  • Poor judgment;
  • Being pessimistic;
  • Changes in appetite;
  • Nervous habits.

There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.

When should I see my doctor?

You should contact your doctor if you have any of the following:

  • Stress in a long-term;
  • Having mental problems such as depression, anxiety, personality disorders;
  • Sexual dysfunction;
  • Skin problems such as acne, psoriasis, eczema;
  • Hair loss;
  • Stomachache;
  • Nausea, dizziness;
  • Diarrhea or constipation.

Know the causes

What causes stress?

The situations and pressures that causes stress are known as stressors. There are some causes of stress: the external trigger, the internal reason, and post-traumatic stress.

External causes:

  • Major life changes;
  • Work or school;
  • Relationship difficulties;
  • Financial problems;
  • Been too busy;
  • Children and family.

Internal Causes:

  • Your health, especially if you have a chronic illness such as heart disease, diabetes, or arthritis;
  • Emotional problems such as depression, grief, guilt, or low self-esteem;
  • Negative self-talk;
  • Unrealistic expectations/Perfectionism;
  • Rigid thinking, lack of flexibility.

Know the risk factors

What increases my risk for stress?

There are many risk factors for stress, such as:

  • Experienced a traumatic event in the past;
  • A history of stress disorder;
  • A history of certain types of mental problems;
  • A history of dissociative symptoms during traumatic events.

Understand the diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

How is stress diagnosed?

Your primary care doctor or mental health care provider will diagnose stress disorder by asking you questions about the traumatic event and your symptoms. Other causes such as health problems, drug abuse, medical side effects, other psychiatric disorders will be ruled out. Lab tests or other diagnostic tests may be needed to completely rule out an underlying physical cause for your symptoms. If these tests and your doctor’s exam findings are normal, the doctor may consult other specialists for further evaluation and treatment of your condition.

How is stress treated?

Your doctor may use one or more of the following methods to treat ASD:

  • A psychiatric evaluation to determine your specific needs.
  • Hospitalization if you’re at risk of suicide or harming others.
  • Medication to relieve symptoms, such as anti-anxiety medications, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), and antidepressants.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy.
  • Exposure-based therapies.
  • Hypnotherapy.


Lifestyle changes & Home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage stress?

The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with stress:

  • Exercise helps to release built up tension and increases fitness. It is recommended that exercise is undertaken at least three times per week to be of most benefit. If you are not used to exercising, discuss this with a doctor prior to commencing an exercise program.
  • Healthy diet. Diet can play an important role in the relief of stress. Eat a balanced diet and avoid foods that may increase tension, e.g: coffee, tea, and foods high in sugar.
  • Relaxation. Relaxation is an effective way to help reduce muscle tension associated with stress. There are many different relaxation techniques, e.g: yoga, meditation, massage.
  • Taking a stress management courses to have a strategy to cope with life and stress more effectively.
  • Get enough sleep.Your body recovers from the stresses of the day while you are sleeping.
  • Get support from your family, friends and your community. Having support in your life can help you stay healthy.

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Review Date: January 4, 2017 | Last Modified: January 4, 2017