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Stress is your body’s reaction to mental, physical, and emotional changes in life that affect your feelings, thoughts, and behavior. The body’s defenses usually shift into a rapid automatic process known as the stress response when you sense danger or feel strained in some way whether it is real or imagined. When working properly, stress can help you stay alert, energetic, and focus on the work at hand. On the contrary, stress can cause significant damage to your health when it extends beyond a certain point. Not only does it affect your health but also interferes with your productivity, mood, and quality of life. This article gives an in-depth view of stress, its causes, symptoms, treatment, and home remedies that help relieve stress.

What Does Stress Entail?

Our bodies are designed to experience stress and respond to it positively or negatively depending on the causes or the perceived outcome. Stress is considered a positive motivator if you are trying to avoid danger, stay alert, or motivated to accomplish your life goals. However, when you face continuous challenges without taking a break, then stress becomes negative and can damage your health and quality of life. Stress-related tension builds up when you become overworked, or strained financially, mentally and emotionally.

If this situation persists for an extended period, it becomes chronic and may cause wear and tear on the body. Negative stress reaction can cause a disturbance to your body’s internal balance and can cause people to engage in compulsive behaviors and the use of substances such as narcotics to relieve their stress. Instead of returning the body to a relaxed state, it causes more problems as you become trapped in a vicious circle.

Causes and Symptoms of Stress

Stress that persists or extends over a long period can damage your body’s natural defenses. Some of the physical symptoms of stress include dizziness, headaches, sleeping problems, loss of appetite, weight gain, and general aches and pain. Stress can be caused by a physical situation or an emotional stimulus derived from work, relationships, parenting, or finances.  Stress can also affect children in their teen years because of bullying, poor performance, or lack of good parental care. Any type of stress can become overwhelming or unmanageable despite its source. Some of the risk factors for uncontrollable stress include lack of social support networks, family discord, and physical or mental illness.


Stress is diagnosed by asking the patient about the life events that caused their stress and current symptoms that affect their quality of life. Diagnosis of stress is quite complex and depends on many factors. Although physiological techniques, biochemical measures, and questionnaires have been used over the past years, they may not be objective in determining the exact cause and effects of stress. A comprehensive, face-to-face, stress-oriented interview may be effective in diagnosing stress and its effects on an individual.

Treatment for Stress

Stress caused by underlying health conditions may require certain medications. Some therapies such as reflexology and aromatherapy can also be used to induce relaxation. However, doctors do not always prescribe stress medication unless you have an underlying illness such as depression or some type of anxiety. Since the doctor will be treating mental illness rather than stress, they may prescribe antidepressants to help with your condition. However, it is important to keep in mind that antidepressants also have adverse effects on your body. In most cases, doctors recommend stress management techniques and exercises that lower the impact of stress on your body and learn alternative ways of coping with stress.

Home Remedies for Stress

Some of the home remedies for managing stress include eating a healthy diet, socializing with your friends and family, establishing support networks, and finding your de-stressor. An individual may be so concerned about the problem causing their stress that they do not notice the physical effects on their body. The first step is to take action by getting enough sleep, or taking breaks between stressors. Some people also find something that helps them relax such as listening to music, going for a walk, reading a book, and spending time with their friends or pets.

When to see a Doctor

It is important to seek medical help if your stress becomes unmanageable and cannot improve with home remedies or self-care. A doctor will do a comprehensive analysis of your situation and determine what will work best for you.

We encounter stress at some point in our lives and what matters most is how well you can handle your situation. The best way to prevent stress is to ask for medical advice so that your doctor can evaluate your symptoms and eliminate other conditions. They can also recommend a professional therapist who can help you handle your stress better.