Signs and Symptoms of Stress
Stress is a leading cause for depression and many other chronic illnesses and mental disorders. If you suffer from too much stress, it may have debilitating impacts on your life. Fortunately you can take action to combat stress and lead a better quality of life.
Recognizing Stress and Depression
Too much stress causes depression. Here are some of the warning signs you may have depression or may be under too much stress.
- Feeling sad or blue for more than a few days.
- Crying unexpectedly frequently while feeling sad or blue.
- Feeling fatigued and sleeping too much or having problems sleeping.
- Feeling negative or losing your optimism about your life and recent events.
- Having a decreased sex drive or desire to be intimate.
- Experiencing trouble concentrating.
- Feel generally unwell, or experience aches or fatigue you cannot explain.
- Feeling lost, or suicidal.
- Lacking the energy you need to get by.
- Feeling more angry, anxious or irritable than usual.
If you experience these symptoms, it is safest for you to consult with a medical healthcare professional. A doctor can help you manage stress, and diagnose depression if it is present. Most doctors will perform a complete physical and will review your medical history before deciding what the best treatment is for your condition.
Symptoms of Severe Depression and Mania
Stress can worse existing depression and affect other forms of depression that are quite severe, including manic depression, often referred to by doctors as "bipolar" depression or disorder. People with this condition may feel very well, overly happy and exuberant at times and low and depressed during others.
Some symptoms of manic depression that suggest you may have mania include:
- Feeling overly confident and exaggerating your wellness.
- Feeling irritable and anxious or acting out in impulsive ways.
- Sleeping less and finding you do not need to sleep to function during the day.
- Speaking very quickly, so fast at times others may not understand you.
- Engaging in what others may consider dangerous behaviors or careless behaviors and activities.
Some people with severe forms of mania may experience delusional behavior to the point where they may "see" or "hear" things that may not exist. This is a strong indication that medical intervention is necessary. Sometimes stress may act as a trigger for people with a tendency toward bipolar disorder or mania.
Depression may sometimes accompany these "manic" periods, follow or precede them. People that have bipolar depression experience much more severe symptoms of depression. Their crying, sleep changes and lethargy may be more exaggerated than they would be in a patient with minor or mild depression. Sometimes medications given to patients for depression may trigger episodes of mania, as can lifestyle activities like overdoing it or allowing too much stress in your life.
How to Decrease Stress and Improve Your Mood
While it is critical you seek a doctor's care if you have symptoms of depression or mania, you can also take steps to improve your quality of life by decreasing the amount of stress you have in your life.
Here are some tools you can use to decrease your stress and improve the quality of your life.
- Make your health a priority, because if you aren't healthy, you can't really help anyone.
- If you can, delegate tasks like household chores to others.
- Try to get at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night. If you get less, try to squeeze in a 15-minute to 30-minute nap during the day.
- Eat healthy, unprocessed foods to provide your body the energy it needs to function well during the day.
- Try to avoid drinking two hours before sleeping, because this can disrupt your sleep, adding to stress.