Stress Causes and Treatment
Mortgage repayments... marriage strife... young children... job security... your relatives... family finances... separation and divorce... leaving home... unemployment... ill health... work responsibility... death in the family...
All of these, and hundreds of other situations, are causes of stress. Stress is not something new to modern humanity. Stress has always been with us, but the form has changed over the years. Many of the above problems were experienced thousands of years ago, but we at least do not have to worry about starvation and a life-expectancy half that of today.
Stress can cause a very wide range of physical illnesses. Chronic headaches and peptic ulcers are probably the best known diseases due to stress, but depression, heart disease, migraines, diarrhea, shortness of breath, sweating, passing excess urine, rashes, vomiting, and a host of other symptoms may be an outward manifestation of inward emotional turmoil.
There are three basic ways to treat stress:
1. The obvious, most successful, but hardest to achieve, is removing the cause of the stress. If your mortgage repayments are in arrears, winning the lottery will solve your problems and remove the stress, but this is a solution for the minority, not the majority. Marriage stress is probably one of the most difficult forms of stress to remove, as bitterness and wrangling over children and property may last for many years after the divorce.
2. The next way to deal with stress is to rationalize it. This can involve a combination of several different techniques. Talking is an excellent way of relieving anxiety. Discuss the problem with your spouse, relatives, friends, doctor, priest, work mates or anyone else who will listen. Problems often do not appear as insurmountable once bought into the open.
Writing down the details of the problem is another excellent way of relieving anxiety. An insurmountable problem in your mind often appears more manageable on paper, particularly when all your possible options are diagrammatically attached to it to enable a rational view of the situation to be obtained.
Professional assistance in discussing your problems is also very helpful. This may be given by your own general practitioner (who can often be a friend as well as counselor), a psychiatrist (not because you may be insane, but because they have specialist skills in this area), a psychologist, marriage guidance counselor, child guidance officer or social worker. Many people are reluctant to seek this type of assistance, but it is far preferable to the third type of treatment for stress - drugs.
3. Drugs that alter your mood, sedate or relieve anxiety are very successful in dealing with stress, but should only be used in a crisis, intermittently or for short periods of time. Some antidepressant drugs and treatments for psychiatric conditions are designed for long-term use, but most of the anxiety-relieving drugs can cause dependency if used regularly. When prescribed and taken correctly, they act as a very useful crutch to help patients through a few weeks of extreme stress, and allow them to cope until such time as the cause of the stress is removed or counseling can be started.
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