Psychological Stress: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, & Treatment

Psychological Stress

According to Medical News Today in today’s fast- paced world, stress affects many people. It’s essential to understand how stress can impact mental health and behavior. In this article we explore the relationship between stress, psychological stress, and behavior and learn how to manage and reduce its negative effects.

Stress: What It Does

Stress is the body’s response to feeling threatened. It triggers the release of stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, preparing the body to face the threat. While this response is useful in dangerous situations, long-term or constant stress can harm mental psychological stress and behavior.

How It Affects Mental Health

Anxiety and Depression: Long-lasting stress can lead to anxiety and depression. Stress can mess with the balance of brain chemicals that affect mood.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): Stress from traumatic events can pause PTSD. This condition leads to flashbacks, nightmares, and severe anxiety.
Substance Abuse: Stress can push people to use drugs or alcohol to cope. This can lead to addiction and make psychological stress problems worse.
How It Affects Behavior.
Irritability and Aggression: Stress can make people more irritable and aggressive, causing problems in their relationships.
Thinking Problems: Long-term stress can make it harder to think clearly, remember things, and solve problems.
Bad Coping Habits: People may use unhealthy ways to deal with stress, like overeating, hangover, drinking too much, or hurting themselves.

How to Deal With Stress

Mindfulness and Relaxation: Practices like deep breathing and medication can help you relax and control your emotions, reducing stress.
Regular Exercise: So regular physical activity and exercise increase the production of natural mood boosters, helping to reduce the stress.
Seeking Professional Help: If stress is seriously affecting your mental health and behavior, reach out to a therapist, counselor, or psychiatrist for support and coping strategies.
Social Support: Talking to friends and family about your stress can be comforting.
Connecting with loved ones helps lessen the emotional burden.
Time Management: So managing your time effectively and setting realistic goals can help reduce stress from work or school pressures.

Symptoms

According to the National Health Service (NHC) stress may affect a person’s mental and physical health and behavior.

Mental Symptoms:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty making decision
  • Forgetfulness
  • Constant worrying
  • Feeling of overwhelm

Physical symptoms:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Increased heart rate
  • Asthma
  • Muscle tension pain
  • Digestive problems
  • Sexual problems
  • Musculoskeletal problems
  • Metabolic disorder
  • Immune disorder
  • Gastrointestinal disorder
  • Disease of the reproductive system
  • Heart disease

Behavioral Symptoms:

  • Eating too much or too little
  • Sleeping too much or little
  • Drinking or smoking more
  • Avoiding certain places or people

Causes:

Stress can be short-term (acute) and long term (chronic) depending on the cause. The World Health Organization (WHO) lists the following as potential causes of acute stress.

  • Job interview
  • School exams
  • Unrealistic workload
  • Conflict with family, friends or colleagues

Causes of Chronic Stress:

In 2022 global market research company conducted a survey on behalf of the APA, investigating the prevailing causes of stress among US citizens. So the survey identified several major causes of psychological stress, including:

  • The current political climate
  • The current racial climate
  • Concerns over violence, crime and safety
  • Worries about money and inflation

Diagnosis:

Stress is not an illness, though chronic stress can make a person more susceptible to serious illness. For this reason, people must learn to recognize and treat the early symptoms of stress.
A stress diary should record any stressful episode that occur over 2-4 weeks, along with notes on the following:

  • The date and time that the stressful episode occurred
  • The place the episode occurred
  • Who was present?
  • The thoughts and emotions a person experienced
  • The physical sensations experienced
  • So stress rating from 0-10, with 10 representing the most intense level of stress

Treatment:

There is no single treatment of psychological stress. So treatment involves identifying the cause of stress and developing appropriate coping mechanisms. Often this will involve making multi lifestyle changes.

Background:

Excessive worry is an invisible disruptive force that has adverse health outcomes and may advance to other forms of disorder, such as anxiety or depression. So addressing worry and its influences is challenging yet crucial for informing public health policy.

Methods:

We examined parents’ worries, influences, and variability before and during COVID-19 pandemic and across geography. Parents (n=340) and their primary school-aged children from five Australian states completed an anonymous online survey in mid-2020. After literature review ,we conceptualized the influences and performed and performed a series of regression analysis.

Results:

Worry levels and the variables contributing to parents’ worry varied before to during the pandemic. The proportion of parents who were “very worried all the time” increased by 14.6% in the early days of the pandemic. The primary predictor to news remained significant both before and during the pandemic. The primary predictor of parents’ worry before COVID-19 was perceived neighborhood safety, while the main predictor during COVID-19 was financial risk due to income change. Some variables such as geographical regions. The proportion of worried children was higher among distraught parents.

Parent’s Concern

The text discusses a study that examines worry in the context of health crises and mental health geography. It adopts a triangle framework originally used for assessing perceived risk in natural disaster, grouping factors contributing to parental worry. The study focuses on parent’s concerns related to the pandemic, such as the fear of contracting the virus and financial income uncertainty. It explores how proximity to threats and different factors affect worry across time and geography. Individual characteristics, socioeconomic status, and other relevant variables from past literature and considered.

FAQs:

How does stress affect behavior?

Stress can lead to a lack of interest in activities that were once enjoyable, impulsive behavior, decreased productivity at school or work, and feeling irritability, anger, and sometimes even aggression.

What hormone is stress?

The hormone associated with stress is cortisol. So cortisol, which is the primary stress hormone, raises the level of sugar in the bloodstream. It enhances the brain’s use of glucose and increases the availability of substances in the body that aid in tissue repair. Additionally cortisol slows down functions that would be considered nonessential or potentially harmful in a fight-or-flight situation.

What is an Overthinker?

Overthinking is when you dwell on or worry about the same thing repeatedly. People who overthink can be paralyzed by their worries and may struggle to make decisions or take actions. So overthinking can be caused by and contribute to depression, anxiety and other mental health conditions.

Are overthinkers smart?

Yes, in some cases overthinking can be associated with intelligence. It might indicate a person’s ability to analyze situations deeply and consider multiple perspectives. However, it’s essential to note that overthinking can also become a hindrance if it leads to excessive worry, so indecision or difficulty in taking action. It’s a matter of finding a balance between through analysis and practical decision-making.

Is overthinking a bad habit?

Yes, overthinking is often considered a challenging habit. While some individuals may believe that analyzing situations in their minds helps them overcome challenges, some studies suggest otherwise. So overthinking can interfere with problem solving by causing individuals to dwell on the problem excessively and imagine scenarios that may never occur, rather than focusing on finding practical solutions. It can be counterproductive and contribute to increased stress and anxiety.

Are overthinkers unhappy?

Yes, overthinking is often associated with feelings of unhappiness. The habit of overthinking can contribute to stress, anxiety and a sense of being overwhelmed. It may lead to decision making paralysis, making it difficult for individuals to find joy and happiness in their lives. So overthinking can become a self-destructive pattern that hinders well-being and satisfaction. It’s important to manage and address overthinking to cultivate a healthier mindset and lifestyles.

Is overthinking an obsession?

While overthinking and obsession share similarities they are not the same. Obsessive thoughts are typically beyond one’s control, frightening, and disturbing, often leading to compulsive actions to alleviate the anxiety associated with those thoughts. On the other hand overthinking is usually a voluntary process that individuals engage in consciously. It involves dwelling excessively on a particular thought problem or situation but it doesn’t necessarily involve the same uncontrollable and distressing nature and obsessions. While overthinking can be a hindrance it is generally within the individual’s ability to redirect their thoughts and behavior.

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