What is stress?

The word "stress" has come to have many meanings and it is more common than ever in modern life to "feel stressed".

Stress is primarily a physiological process which is important as a survival mechanism; the 'fight or flight' response is the consequence of a release of chemicals in the body, such as adrenaline, which increase energy and concentration in the short term. However, prolonged periods of stress or experiencing stress in inappropriate situations can be harmful to an individual, who might find themselves unable to think straight or cope with a continuing difficult situation.

Symptoms of stress

Stress can affect many areas of physical and mental health. It is associated with heart problems, high blood pressure, indigestion and stomach problems and abnormal sugar levels in the blood. It can trigger many of the conditions mentioned in other sections, such as anxiety and depression, as well as lead to unhelpful emotions, such as excessive frustration or anger.

Treatment for stress

General management of stress will include lifestyle changes, such as eating and drinking well and getting sufficient sleep. Psychological support may help an individual to change their mindset or set achievable targets which minimise stress. If stress is associated with a clinical disorder, treatment will be whatever is appropriate for that condition.

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