The word stress has become more popular in recent years, becoming essential within the everyday lexicon. We use it to refer to those emotional states that reflect the levels of anxiety and worry that we face with certain situations. It has also gained greater importance within the field of psychology, due to the fact that a wide spectrum of psychological illnesses are directly related.

When we observe symptoms of stress such as loss of control of emotions, increased heart rate and problems concentrating for example; it is important to seek medical help. However, it is still a disease that goes unnoticed in most cases and represents a significant danger. It can be experienced in different ways as well, as it can also affect the health of the patient in different ways.

A wide typology has been identified that describes different types of stress. Each of them has particular characteristics and develops from certain stimuli, to which, however, some individuals may not be vulnerable. That is where the complexity of this disease lies, in each patient both the causes and the symptoms have similarities and differences. 

One of the most serious types of stress is considered to be chronic stress. As its name indicates, it is a condition that affects the psychological and physical health of those who suffer from it to a greater degree. Consequently, it could also be assumed that it is one of the most difficult to treat, however through an early prognosis and the implementation of the most appropriate treatment; you can have positive results.

What is chronic stress?

Chronic stress is defined as a type of disorder that affects the psychophysiological level, which is characterized by its intensity. That is, once it has developed, the patient adopts a behavior that reflects the deterioration of their mental health, which happens progressively. In this way, people are no longer efficient and autonomous in tasks that they previously performed effectively.

It usually occurs during specific periods of time, so it can be assumed that it is temporary. However, there are also cases where it lasts for long periods, gradually increasing the intensity of the symptoms. It largely depends on the amount of pressure that is exerted on the patient . Likewise, it will also depend on the perception it has of its environment and its reality, identifying possible dangers to which it reacts negatively.

Basically stress reflects how we relate ourselves to our environment. It also indicates our assessment of ourselves as individuals and our abilities to cope with danger. Well-being will always be related to the stability we have in our personal lives and how it connects with the environment.

Usually stressful situations begin when we perceive that we are victims of an eventual threat. For it to occur, the necessary conditions must be in place to make the patient react. These stimuli are usually associated with experiences and personal characteristics, the union of these elements conditions the person to face each situation in a particular way.

What are your symptoms?

As in other types of stress, patients develop very particular symptoms; therefore, they will not always be the same in each case. However, statistically there is a higher incidence of symptoms that are considered to be more common. What they are are described below:

  • People often feel a lack of control over their personal lives . There will be confusion as to the boundaries between your responsibilities, needs, and your wants. Consequently, there will be no order, which will cause a succession of events framed by unsuccessful results.
  • The inability to manage to stay focused is a common factor. This has a negative impact on actions that require greater precision and on making very important decisions.
  • Patients cannot reassure themselves and therefore remain in a state of permanent tension. It is accompanied by impatience and lack of tolerance, which negatively affects interaction with other people.
  • Some patients may develop authoritative behavior . This implies that their behaviors eventually suppress capacities such as empathy and attentive listening.
  • The trouble falling asleep and get a rest affect mood. Therefore, patients experience abrupt mood swings, as well as periods of considerable irritability.
  • Body tics usually appear in areas such as the face and hands. Muscle contractions in the eyelids and lips are the most common
  • Body pain is usually located in the head and back area. Patients in this way experience chronic fatigue with symptoms that can increase in intensity. Drugs to relieve pain may eventually stop being effective.
  • Skin health problems such as  hives and eczema are also associated with hair loss in different areas.
  • Digestive system problems such as constipation and diarrhea. Some patients may feel like urinating frequently.
  • In the case of women, there may be an imbalance in the menstrual period. 
  • The lack of sexual appetite will be accompanied by discouragement and disinterest in activities that previously provided pleasure.

What are your causes?

There are multiple causes of chronic stress . Basically it can be assumed that each person is vulnerable to certain situations, to which they will always react negatively. In addition, it is important to remember that in this case it is a stress that lasts for months and even years. Unfortunately, when it is not treated in time and an adequate solution is not implemented, the symptoms progressively worsen.

Pathological anxiety is a direct consequence , it becomes a disorder that will affect the body permanently. For example, the patient will face the suffering of high blood pressure, eczema, diabetes, obesity, sexual dysfunction and even the weakening of the immune system.

It is observed that most of the cases the event or stressor is repeated over and over again. That is, the patient interacts with this stimulus permanently, without establishing limits between one and the other. Therefore, he never rests and is always in a state of alert. This constant conditions the life of the patient, so that they always live with the feeling of fear, vulnerability and inability to protect themselves.

Tips and / or habits to reduce the chronic

Because it is a condition that cannot be prevented, integrating healthy practices into our personal lives will have a positive psychological and physical effect. It is always good for people to learn to develop a positive attitude, facing difficult and inevitable circumstances with this mindset is the ideal. Likewise, a good diet and physical exercise are essential, as well as social contact and nature.

People who learn from an early age to create a mindset focused on seeking and creating solutions are the least likely to develop this type of stress. This leads to rational thoughts always being present in mind , as well as promoting better control over emotions and behaviors.

When medical help is required, it is important to go to a psychology professional who has experience in this matter. A treatment can be put into practice that can be cognitive behavioral therapy or instead the administration of certain drugs . That these solutions are usually implemented when patients have difficulties to manage the emotions and negative sensations associated with this condition.

For example, one of the most current resources that provides short-term results is called Mindfulness. It could be considered to be a variant of the same cognitive therapy, but in this case it is focused on making modifications in self-destructive behavior patterns. Patients will eventually learn to adopt relaxation responses that will reduce stress levels.

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Alexa Clark specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. She has experience in listening and welcoming in Individual Therapy and Couples Therapy. It meets demands such as generalized anxiety, professional, love and family conflicts, stress, depression, sexual dysfunction, grief, and adolescents from 15 years of age. Over the years, She felt the need to conduct the psychotherapy sessions with subtlety since She understands that the psychologist acts as a facilitator of self-understanding and self-acceptance, valuing each person's respect, uniqueness, and acceptance.

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