Stress and Anxiety
When people refer to having ‘stress’ in their lives, it can mean many things. It might be related to work, home or family, anxiety about relationships, money or illness, fear of failure or the death of a loved one. Other factors can include alcohol, smoking and substance abuse, taking exams, moving house, poor nutrition and unemployment.
The symptoms of stress can be as diverse as the causes, from dull skin, lank hair and erratic sleep patterns, through lethargy and muscular tightness to chronic physical illness. Mental stress can result in depression, mood swings, anger, frustration, confusion, paranoid behaviour, jealousy or withdrawal.
Anxiety can mean simply being worried, nervous or uneasy about something with an uncertain outcome, with anxiety disorder, panic disorder, phobias, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and post traumatic stress disorder at the other end of the scale. In the extreme, chronic anxiety can cause considerable distress and disability. Symptoms might include disturbed sleep, irritability and poor concentration, and physical symptoms such as sweating, nausea, diarrhoea, dry mouth, palpitations, shortness of breath, dizziness, cold hands, muscle tension and aches, trembling and twitching.
Both stress and anxiety can exacerbate existing conditions such as irritable bowel, migraine and tension headaches, and back pain.
This NHS article offers some helpful ways you can deal with stress. Acupuncture, homeopathy and simply having someone listen to your worries with empathy can help improve mood and relieve symptoms of stress and anxiety.
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