Stress

What is stress?

Stress is a state of physical and emotional tension originated as a reaction to a stimulus or pressure, either positive or negative. It is a state of defense that, in small doses, helps the body to react and adapt to events.

A normal level of stress is considered healthy and even positive because it helps stimulate people to act in response to the stimuli of daily life. However, when stress is excessive or not properly controlled, it can lead to problems of mental exhaustion, such as irritability and anxiety, or psychosomatic disorders.

A psychosomatic disorder is a physiological disease originating from emotional causes, usually stress. Some of the most frequent psychosomatic disorders caused by stress are headaches, insomnia, muscle tension, digestive and cardiac problems, dizziness…

Depending on its cause, there are different types of stress, such as work-related stress or post-traumatic stress.

Symptoms of stress

Stress can cause a variety of different symptoms, both psychological and physical. The most common are:

  • Headache.
  • Poor memory.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Behavioral changes and irritability.
  • Anxiety.
  • Depression.
  • Cardiovascular problems, in cases where stress is prolonged over time.
  • Insomnia.
  • Aging.
  • Prolonged fatigue.

Causes of stress

There are many causes of stress, although not all of them have to be negative. Normally, it appears when a person is faced with one or more situations that exceed their resources and they are unable to overcome them, causing some emotional and physical symptoms.

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There is also positive stress, which occurs when it helps the person to adapt to the environment.

Can stress be prevented?

Stress is necessary to be able to overcome situations that require more effort and activation, but can be prevented if there is an excess of stress.

Excessive stress can put the patient’s health at risk, so it should be avoided for the patient’s well-being. The limit of oneself should not be exceeded unnecessarily, and often what is needed is to think of other alternatives, analyzing the process from another perspective, taking other paths if necessary.

How is stress diagnosed?

Stress is diagnosed with the assessment of a professional. A series of questionnaires will be carried out, the best known being the Perceived Stress Scale.

What does stress treatment consist of?

Experts recommend stress treatment in cases where stress reduction is important. To reduce it as much as possible, it is important to follow a series of guidelines or recommendations:

  • Recognize stress and the situations that trigger it.
  • Avoid trying to control stress with unhealthy habits, such as smoking or drinking alcohol.
  • Move away from the source of stress.
  • Adopting a positive approach to problems.
  • Relaxation techniques.
  • Maintaining a healthy and balanced diet.