Symptoms, Causes and Treatment of Stress

Many clients report to me with symptoms of stress and the discussion often turns to what are the Symptoms, Causes and Treatment of Stress. For the convenience of my readers I elaborate on them here.

Modern city lifestyle such as in busy cities like Sydney is a great panacea for stress. However, stress is not always bad. In some situations it does become bad. In normal conditions it is helpful in attending to the tasks at hand and be active. Beyond certain threshold levels stress is harmful for us. Then it starts decreasing the quality of our life by decreasing the judgement power, ability to think rationally and causes abnormal mood changes. Harmful level of stress make us socially incapable of interaction and keeping happy relationship with the people around us.

Signs and Symptoms

A check list of  signs and symptoms to check if you suffer from stress or not is given in the above image. The more signs and symptoms you tick for yourself, the more necessary it is for you to approach a clinical psychologist and seek treatment for stress.

Symptoms of Stress

Cognitive Symptoms

  •  Memory problems
  •  Inability to concentrate
  •  Anxious or racing thoughts
  •  Constant worrying

Emotional Symptoms

  •  Moodiness
  •  Irritability or short temper
  •  Sense of loneliness and isolation
  •  Depression or general unhappiness

Physical Symptoms:

  • Aches and pains
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Chest pain, rapid heartbeat
  • Loss of sex drive
  • Allergic reactions such as acne

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Behavioral Symptoms:

  • Eating more or less
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Isolating yourself from others
  • Procrastinating or neglecting responsibilities

Causes of Stress

Causes of stress are different for different people. A cause of stress for another may be a source of enjoyment for you, such as flying on an aeroplane. Hence there is no clear demarcation as to what causes stress in individuals. Some general causes of stress

  • Major life changes
  • Work or school
  • Relationship difficulties
  • Financial problems
  • Being too busy
  • Children and family
  • Chronic worry
  • Pessimism

Treatment Options for Stress

Clinical psychologists and registered psychologists provide treatment to cure the signs and symptoms of chronic stress.

The most common treatment for stress is a psychological counselling. Generally the psychological counselling last from six to twenty sessions, and each session duration is between one to two hours. In the counselling sessions the patient talks about their present situation and cause of stress with the psychologist, who listens carefully and offers practical advice to the patient using variety of techniques such as breathing techniques, arousal reduction techniques to manage stress. Counselling is quite a broad treatment option and can be given to anybody who can come to the session and discuss their problems with the psychologist and are open to receive feedback.

One technique used in Psychological Counselling sessions is cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) in which stress is managed by taking note of and then changing the negative thoughts of the mind of patients. In CBT the psychologist educates the patient about addressing the distorted thought pattern. By changing the thinking pattern we change the behavioural symptoms. A great tool to assist the patient in this regard is journal writing which can be done using pen and paper or even by using apps which are now widely available on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.

Psychoanalysis is another form of treatment available to manage stress in which the focus is laid upon the past issues which are affecting the quality of life of the patient. Psychoanalysis involves the discussion of unresolved issues of childhood or a past incident which is the cause of the negative impact on the mind of patient. The treatment plan involves weekly sessions which are one hour long. Psychoanalysis is a long process which lasts for a year or more.


In this post we discussed the Symptoms, Causes and Treatment of Stress for my readers. Monitoring those symptoms may help readers to identify if they need treatment for stress or not.



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