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Signs and symptoms of stress related mental illnesses

In today's world, stress is hardly uncommon, and recent research notes that many of the sick days taken by employees are the result of stress-induced illness. With the pressures of family, work, social activities and bills to pay, things can easily become overwhelming. Sometimes a little bit of stress is useful to keep us motivated and keen to complete tasks or meet deadlines. Stress shows us that we are concerned and feel responsible to the various people and events in our lives. But things can sometimes go overboard and we feel as though our lives are spiraling out of control. This threat to our control elicits the stress response – the good old "fight or flight" response.


Causes of Stress

Stress is often classified by the event or group of factors causing it. Many people experience stress as a result of major life events such as marriage, divorce or job transitions. As well, worrying about future events or finances causes many people to feel stress and anxiety. Finally, the accumulation of a number of minor hassles or inconveniences can build to the point where it only takes one small thing to "break the camel's back." Some people also experience post-traumatic stress disorder, which is a stress anxiety combination where a past event continues to cause the sufferer psychological pain, worry and fear. Any of these factors alone can be stressors, but they can also exist in combination.

Signs of Stress

Stressed individuals may feel one or more of the following:

  • Insecurity
  • Restlessness
  • Irritability or impatience
  • Depression
  • Burn out
  • Confusion or scatterbrain tendencies

Sometimes stress manifests itself physically, and may cause:

  • Headaches
  • Digestive upset
  • Insomnia
  • Teeth grinding
  • Nausea
  • Muscle strain or stiffness

Stress can also have effects on behavior including:

  • Altering eating habits
  • Drug or alcohol use or abuse
  • Crying
  • Avoidance of social activities
  • Neglecting hygiene

Learning to recognize the signs of stress or taking a stress test will go a long way in allowing an individual to reduce stress. Information on stress management techniques is widely available from healthcare professionals and online, though be sure to take the Internet with a grain of salt, and search for reputable websites. Inform yourself and reduce stress now!

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