“It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.” — Lou Holtz
While looking at the stats, one thing is certain — stress levels in the United States are becoming a significant public health crisis.
As reported by the American Psychological Association, the majority of Americans are suffering from moderate to high stress, with nearly half (44 percent) stating that their stress levels have increased over the past five years. This can lead to the development of stress-related disorders, ranging from generalized anxiety to adjustment disorder, and in more severe cases, PTSD.
The “definition” of stress takes on different meanings for different people. In its simplest form, stress is often referred to as physical, emotional, or mental strain that results in some level of distress. However, not all stress is bad. There is healthy stress, known as eustress, which when properly managed, can lead to enhanced productivity and/or positive results, such as getting a promotion or having a baby.
While focusing on negative stress, you must first understand the role of your “fight or flight” system. This is what’s known as acute stress, as your body essentially prepares to “defend” itself. In response, stress hormones are released, causing your muscles to get ready for action, as your heart rate increases and your breathing becomes more rapid. Once threatening stimuli is eliminated, your body will return to normal.
It is when this response continues to fire, day after day, that serious health complications can arise. This is referred to as chronic stress, which can lead to symptoms such as insomnia, depression, headaches, anxiety, and irritability — not to mention the toll it takes on your central nervous system, digestive system, cardiovascular system, and immune function.
Although stress is linked to a wide range of anxiety-related conditions, some are more severe than others, particularly those that develop following trauma. If ongoing stress currently has a negative impact on your everyday life, know that help is available. Lasting recovery requires you to take action, but first, you must identify problematic stress in order to effectively manage it.
Sadly, trauma is common. In the United States, approximately 70 percent of people have experienced some type of traumatic event. That equates to around 223.4 million people. Since trauma is a risk factor for nearly all substance use disorders and behavioral health conditions, it’s imperative that you learn to identify symptoms of prolonged stress, as well as symptoms of diminishing mental health.
If you or a loved one have witnessed a traumatic event or series of events, it’s important to remain aware of acute stress disorder (ASD), as well as PTSD — both of which can wreak havoc on your mental health and overall quality of life. While both ASD and PTSD develop following trauma, here is how these conditions differ:
As discussed, stress is rather subjective in terms of how it makes you feel. That is why you must understand your personal triggers. Whether you are experiencing financial worries, have recently gone through a divorce, or have lost a loved one, remaining aware of how you’re coping is imperative in terms of your current and future health.
If you’re experiencing chronic stress, you may develop a range of physical, behavioral, emotional, and even cognitive symptoms. Here are four ways to identify problematic stress levels. The goal here is to take action as soon as possible.
If you are concerned about the potential symptoms of PTSD, remain mindful of the following:
How to best manage stress will depend on your personal circumstance. If you are currently dealing with chronic stress and generalized anxiety, there are a number of steps you can take in terms of your current lifestyle. Some of the most common interventions that you can begin to implement today include exercise, a balanced diet, meditation, journaling, and positive self-talk.
However, if you are experiencing symptoms of ASD, PTSD, or another concerning mental health condition, there is help available. Sadly, these conditions are also often accompanied by a substance abuse disorder, which can make recovery even more challenging. Whether you are struggling with PTSD, have developed a panic disorder, or are self-medicating to numb the trauma you have experienced, professional help is available.
Although you will receive an individualized treatment plan based on your unique needs, anyone diagnosed with stress or anxiety-related conditions will benefit from stress tolerance. This strategy is particularly effective among those who lack the coping skills required to deal with daily stressors in a healthy manner. For example, someone who is abusing alcohol in order to dull symptoms of anxiety would benefit from stress tolerance.
The goal here is to allow yourself to heal in a supportive and nurturing environment. During treatment, you will work with your therapist to become the best version of yourself. You deserve a life that is free from the overwhelming symptoms of chronic stress and anxiety, and at Transformations, we can help you do just that.
When you first arrive at Transformations Treatment Center, whether you are dealing with symptoms of alcohol abuse, PTSD, or both, our main priority is to better understand what you personally need. Our individualized, holistic approach will encourage greater success long-term. We will discuss your symptoms and the most imminent concerns so that you can begin your road to recovery.
In some cases, medical detox may be required before the psychological and emotional healing process can begin. That is because many clients seeking treatment for stress-related disorders have developed poor coping mechanisms involving substances of abuse. This is particularly the case among those who have experienced trauma. Compared with people who do not suffer from PTSD, people with PTSD are two to four times more likely to suffer from alcohol abuse or dependence. The risk is even higher in regard to drug abuse and dependence.
Once your body and mind are ready to begin therapy, you will be able to work through your trauma in an environment that is safe and supportive. Your treatment plan may involve prolonged exposure therapy, EMDR, cognitive behavioral therapy, or a combination of therapy options.
In addition, we offer specialty services that allow our clients to truly transform into the individuals they strive to be. We offer everything from Neurotherapy to holistic mind-body services, ensuring that the best possible treatment is available for you, based on your personal needs and goals.
If stress has been taking a significant toll on your well-being and has since developed into more troublesome symptoms, at Transformation, we’re here to help. Your new life is waiting — all you need to do is call.
Take the next step and contact us today!