Stress

Reviewed by Dr Keith Grimes, 29th July 2019

Stress is often described as an unpleasant feeling that you are under so much pressure you feel unable to cope with it all.

Stress causes mental and physical changes in the body and if you're constantly stressed, you may develop stress-related symptoms, depression or anxiety.

Causes

Every individual is different when it comes to what causes them stress.

Stress is not only caused by upsetting events (such as unemployment, relationship difficulties or bereavement) but also by events that lead us to feel overloaded (such as after the birth of a child, change in our work circumstances or moving house).

Not all stress is bad or negative. Happy and exciting times can also trigger a stress response in the body, but chronic stress or when a lot of stress piles up can be harmful.

Risk factors

  • Work related stress (high workload, retirement, career change)
  • Housing related difficulties (disagreements with neighbours, moving house)
  • Family issues (divorce, relationship challenges)
  • Health concerns
  • Financial worries
  • Being a carer

Typical Symptoms

  • Mood changes
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Poor sleep
  • General aches and pains
  • Abdominal pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Headache
  • Irritability

Common Treatment

  • Addressing the source of stress
  • Relaxation techniques
  • CBT
  • Talking therapies
  • Improving sleep hygiene

When to speak to a doctor

Stress can usually be managed through self-help techniques however it is important to speak to a doctor if you:

  • Have symptoms that are worsening
  • Have symptoms that persist beyond a stressful period
  • Are losing weight
  • Are worried about personality changes
  • Have persistently low mood
  • Are not taking pleasure in things that you previously enjoyed
  • Have thoughts of self-harm or suicide

A great tool to assess your mood is the Babylon Healthcheck. To use Healthcheck or speak to one of our Babylon GPs, download the app and create an account today.

Prevention

Stress can be managed and prevented by:

  • Having a good social support network
  • Keeping an eye on your work-life balance

More information

NHS Moodzone - https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/understanding-stress/

Depression - https://www.babylonhealth.com/what-we-treat/depression

Anxiety - https://www.babylonhealth.com/what-we-treat/anxiety