Stress Illness Brochure (5)

Concluding with Part 5 of the Stress Illness brochure:

IV. Stress From A Traumatic Experience

If you have had a terrifying or horrifying personal experience, this can be a source of stress for many years.  Examples include military combat, a serious accident or being the victim of an assault.  Prolonged symptoms may include:

  • Distressing memories that come back whether you want them to or not
  • Nightmares and flashbacks where you might feel you are reliving the trauma
  • Strong reactions to anything that triggers memories of the trauma
  • Taking steps to avoid reminders of the trauma
  • Feeling anxiously watchful much of the time (might interfere with sleep)
  • Difficulty experiencing emotions
  • Feeling detached from the world
  • Irritability or outbursts of anger

Counseling, sometimes supplemented with medication, is usually very helpful with this condition so let your doctor know if you have experienced any of these problems.

V. Stress From Anxiety

Frequent, excessive anxiety or worry about common events or activities that is more than seems reasonable might be due to an anxiety disorder.  Sometimes people experience excessive worry in connection with specific social situations such as being around large numbers of people, public speaking or eating with others.  This may be accompanied by fear of judgment by others or fear of personal embarrassment.  Other symptoms may include:

  • Panic attacks (sudden onset of intense fear, often with pounding heartbeat, difficulty breathing, sweating)
  • Fatigue
  • Restlessness or difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability or disrupted sleep
  • Muscle tension or sweats
  • Digestive symptoms such as difficulty swallowing, nausea, abdominal pain or change in bowel habit

Once again, effective treatment for this condition is available and may include counseling with or without the support of medication.  Let your doctor know if you have this source of stress.

© David D. Clarke, MD   2010

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