Stress is something we all experience, which makes it difficult to recognize when what what you’re experiencing goes beyond stress. This is especially true because we all react to stress in slightly different ways.
Stress is normal to an extent. It helps us meet work deadlines, keep track of family obligations, and be prepared for the things that are important to us. However, when you face great amounts of stress for prolonged periods of time, it increases your risk for mental and physical problems.
So, how can you tell if your stress is something more serious? Here’s what you should look out for and what you can do about it.
When is it more serious?
Stress comes with many physical, mental, and emotional symptoms. If you’ve tried coping with everyday stress through healthy coping mechanisms like asking for help and moving your body, yet are still experiencing stress symptoms over a prolonged period of time, you are dealing with something more serious.
Take note of if you’ve experienced symptoms like this over a prolonged period of time:
- Your sleep patterns are seriously disrupted
- You’re having panic attacks
- You’re less interested in things you once enjoyed
- You’re turning to drugs or alcohol to cope
- Your hair and skin is suffering—for example, your hair is falling out or your acne is getting worse
- You feel an extreme lack of energy
- You can’t focus
Think about what has changed in your life as a result of stress. Have you had less patience for others, turned to unhealthy coping mechanisms, or experienced new or worsening health problems? When stress is majorly impacting your daily life and relationships, it’s something more serious.
What could it be?
Stress can be linked to a number of serious mental health issues like chronic stress, anxiety, depression, substance abuse disorder, and disordered eating.
How can I get help?
If you or someone you know is struggling to cope with stress or have mental health problems stemming from stress, help is available. Our team at Valley Oaks Health is here for you. Reach out to get in touch with a qualified mental health expert who can help you improve your quality of life through individual counseling or group therapy.