What is it?
Stress is a general term which describes feelings that we all get from time to time that various pressures from everyday life are getting too much for us. This is often to do with relationships, finances, work etc. It is important to recognise that these feelings are normal. It is our reaction to them which will determine whether we are able to cope with the stress or not. Only more severe reactions to stress would be dealt with in specialist mental health services.
How do we know it's happening?
Everybody will have their own experience of how stress affects them. Usually it is a sense of anxiety or a feeling that ones emotions are out of control or out of proportion to the situation. People may be irritable, start to lose sleep or use alcohol or medication more than normal. In extreme cases people can do odd or unusual things which are sometimes interpreted by others as a cry for help.
You may notice someone you care for experiences symptoms which include:
- Feeling the worst is going to happen
- Appearing unusually worried or fearful
- Avoiding certain situations (e.g. never leaving the house)
- Irritability and inability to relax
- Increased muscular tension
- Heightened alertness
- Loss of confidence and a desire to seek reassurance from others
- Difficulty falling (or staying) asleep at night
Sometimes anxiety can take the form of a panic attack. Panic attacks may appear out of the blue and can be extremely frightening. They can make a person feel out of control and experience chest pains and palpitations.
What we offer
We can offer advice about whether or not there is any underlying serious mental condition, or offer reassurance if that is not the case. We would then generally advise people to seek help from other agencies who can give advice about general measures of either resolving the stressful situation or finding ways of coping better with it.