Going Pro: When Is It Time to Seek Medical Advice For Dealing With Stress?

Life is stressful. Things like work, money or family can cause a person to feel overwhelmed by stress. Knowing that you’re stressed, you’ve tried some methods to help overcome you issue such as yoga or meditation, but still feel stressed the majority or all of the time.

WomensHealth.gov details, “Stress is a feeling you get when faced with a challenge. In small doses, stress can be good for you because it makes you more alert and gives you a burst of energy. For instance, if you start to cross the street and see a car about to run you over, that jolt you feel helps you to jump out of the way before you get hit. But feeling stressed for a long time can take a toll on your mental and physical health.”

The Cleveland Clinic discusses signs of stress on its website: apathy, lack of energy, difficulty making decisions, difficulty keeping track of things, feeling on edge, change in eating habits, change in sleeping patterns, being more emotional, and using alcohol or drugs to to relieve or forget about stress. These stress warning signs can lead to physical symptoms including chronic back pain, tension headaches, neck pain, Gastrointestinal problems, and palpitations. The clinic recommends seeking medical assistance if you:

  • Experience a marked decline in work/school performance

  • Have excess anxiety

  • Misuse alcohol or drugs

  • Are unable to cope with demands of daily life

  • Have irrational fears

  • Have an obsessive preoccupation with food and fear of becoming obese with no relationship to actual body weight

  • Experience significant change in sleeping or eating habits

  • Have persistent physical ailments and complaints

  • Have suicidal thoughts or urge to hurt others

  • Engage in self-mutilation, self-destructive or dangerous behavior

  • Have a sustained withdrawn mood or behavior

Discussing your stress with a doctor might seem like a daunting task. However, as the University of Michigan’s Depression Center explains, “For many people, the prospect of discussing a mental health problem with a doctor is almost as scary as the problem itself.” When you’re already feeling incredibly stressed, it’s hard to know what or how to discuss the issue with your medical practitioner. Luckily, the University of Michigan’s Depression Center offers 13 tips to help you prepare for this crucial conversation with your doctor. Some of these tips include setting goals for the conversation, researching stress, and being patient.

Acknowledging that your stress has become unmanageable is the first step to handling the issue. While admitting you have a problem might seem like a sign of weakness or failure, it is in fact a positive step towards recovering from long-term stress. Make the time to speak with your doctor about your stress and be sure to thoroughly prepares yourself for what could be a very emotional conversation.