Are you experiencing stress? This page will help you understand your symptoms and how stress is diagnosed.
We also discuss the treatment options available. Our therapists have helped many people manage their symptoms successfully. Read on to learn more about stress and the therapies we offer that can help.
What is stress?
Stress is a normal and common bodily reaction to demands or perceived threats. Any person, situation, or challenge that places a demand on you might be called a stressor. Stressors cause your body to experience a temporary stress response.
A stress response is a series of physiological changes. Your pulse quickens, adrenaline and cortisol are released. This is your body’s attempt to prepare you to tackle the stressor.
The stress response can be helpful, if it only happens from time to time for short periods. It may help you deal with the pressures you’re facing or solve difficult issues. This is particularly the case with physical challenges. But some stressors are not physical, are hard to overcome, and may be ongoing. For example, pressure at work, challenging social situations or relationship difficulties that seem unresolvable.
When you experience the stress response frequently, in response to ongoing stressors, you can become physically and emotionally overwhelmed. Demands outstrip your resources to cope. This is known as chronic stress. Chronic stress can negatively impact your mood and concentration. This in turn disrupts relationships and functioning at work or at home.
The symptoms of chronic stress include:
Being unable to complete tasks well or at all
Using alcohol, drugs or food to cope
Ongoing feelings of dread and fear towards stressors
Feeling anxious, low in mood or irritable
Change in appetite
Avoiding tasks that cause stress
Chronic stress is different from anxiety disorders like panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder or generalised anxiety disorder. Stress is a significant issue when chronic. The most common diagnoses related to stress fall under the trauma and stress related disorders. Either adjustment disorder (ADs) or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
If you’re experiencing chronic stress and symptoms are affecting your ability to function normally, a stress specialist can help. Trained therapists can recognise you are experiencing chronic stress through a semi-structured assessment and psychological self-report measures.
A semi-structured assessment is when your therapist asks you open ended questions that allow for discussion. This helps them understand your symptoms and how they affect you. Psychological self-report measures are when you are asked to fill psychometric questionnaires that gauge your behaviours, beliefs, attitudes or intentions.
Treatments for stress
Once your therapist has assessed whether you’re experiencing chronic stress, they can suggest suitable stress treatments.
This may involve one type of therapy or a mixture of therapy models to help you manage your symptoms.
Therapies that can help you manage the symptoms of chronic stress include:
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
Acceptance and commitment therapy
Eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR)
Cognitive behavioural therapy
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a type of talk therapy. It focuses on helping you change the way you think and behave. By giving you practical ways to manage your feelings, CBT can help you break out of unhelpful patterns of behaviour. CBT can reduce symptoms of chronic stress, anxiety and depression. Learn more about CBT therapy in London with Kove.
Acceptance and commitment therapy
Acceptance and commitment therapy helps you to mindfully embrace how you are feeling and commit to working through the challenges you’re facing. Rather than fighting negative feelings, you acknowledge and accept them. Then you commit to taking practical steps to face your problems, rather than avoiding stressors. Your therapist will work with you on techniques to bring awareness to how you’re feeling. And support you to find practical strategies to reduce the impact stressors have on you.
Eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing
Eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR) can help you manage chronic stress that can be linked to troubling memories. EMDR is a proven therapy for reducing the psychological impact of past traumas. Your therapist helps you revisit traumatic experiences while your conscious mind is distracted by bilateral stimulation. This helps your brain reprocess traumatic memories. Bilateral stimulation is a repetitive movement across the body, such as eye movements, tapping or auditory stimulation.
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If you think you may be experiencing chronic stress, we can help. Therapy can help you manage your symptoms and reduce the impact stress is having on your daily life. Contact us for an initial discussion. Our specialist, and clinical director Jordan Vyas-Lee, will be happy to discuss which treatments might work best for you.
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