Stress is a normal reaction to situations and frustrations that we occasionally experience during the course of our lives. Career concerns, deadlines, financial troubles and kid-related issues can all cause us moments of worry and degrees of anxiety. Normal stress can also be beneficial to us in some ways. For instance, it heightens our awareness in dangerous situations and boosts our ability to perform in an athletic endeavor.
But when feelings of apprehension and distress become perpetual, and there aren’t many moments in a day when we’re not feeling stressed or anxious, it can eventually wear us down and have a negative impact on our health. Stress can affect us both physically and mentally. Some of the physical manifestations of stress are tension, an elevated heartbeat, sweatiness and an upset stomach. Continuous stress can also lead to high blood pressure and heart problems.
The Effects of Chronic Stress on Mental Health
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a well-known condition in which a traumatic event or the circumstances surrounding that event can cause recurring bouts of extreme stress. But constant, long-term stress can also have devastating consequences if not properly addressed.
Many people with chronic stress are unaware that the almost ceaseless worry and anxiety in their everyday lives may be turning into a deeper issue. They may feel that stress is just a part of their daily existence, and that the irritability, forgetfulness, trouble sleeping and fatigue, among other symptoms that can accompany chronic stress, simply come along with it.
However, “nervous breakdowns” or the development of anxiety disorders, eating disorders, sleep disorders, panic attacks and clinical depression that can result from persistent, long-term stress are serious conditions which require proper mental health treatment. This may consist of learning techniques to better manage and alleviate stress, or, depending on the severity of the situation, may involve psychotherapy and medication.
If there are indications that an individual may be experiencing chronic stress and they are beginning to show signs that there may be worse problems on the horizon, it’s time for them to get help. They shouldn’t hesitate to consult with a professional at one of their local mental health centers and begin to learn how to achieve some peace in their lives and get themselves back on track.