Everybody experiences stress in day-to-day life. Traffic, work deadlines, illness, relationship troubles—life is full of stressors. Even happy occasions—a wedding, a promotion at work, a new baby—can fill you with tension. Some people handle life’s ups and downs with ease while others get stuck feeling overly stressed about every little thing. When the pressure of daily life begins to feel overwhelming, and you experience unrelenting, chronic stress, it’s time to seek help.
Americans’ stress levels are going up. A 2019 Gallup Poll found that people living in the U.S. reported the highest levels of stress, worry, and anger in the past 10 years. When asked how they felt the previous day, about 55% of adults said they felt stress during “a lot of the day,” 45% felt a lot of worry, and 22% felt anger. Problems with stress hit all age groups. Children, teens, adults, and seniors are all vulnerable to the effects of this all-too-common problem.
According to the American Institute of Stress:
Stress can cause a number of physical, psychological, cognitive, and behavioral symptoms. Being aware of the most common signs of stress and taking note of how many of them are affecting you can help you understand if you need to seek help. Physical symptoms include headaches or muscle tension. Psychological and cognitive symptoms inability to focus, anxious thoughts, or feeling depressed. Behavioral symptoms include social isolation or having difficulty sleeping. See below for a more complete list of the symptoms associated with stress.
Some of the top stressful life events according to the Holmes-Rahe Stress Inventory:
We use brain SPECT imaging as part of a comprehensive assessment to diagnose and treat our patients. We also assess other factors—biological, psychological, social, and spiritual—that can contribute to chronic stress and the mental health conditions related to it. Based on all of this information, we are able to personalize treatment using the least toxic, most effective solutions for a better outcome.
When stress becomes chronic, it negatively impacts the brain, reducing brain reserve, decreasing mental focus, and interfering with activity in the hippocampus (a region involved with mood, memory, and learning).
The stress response, known as the fight-or-flight response, is hard-wired into our bodies to help us survive. It is mobilized into action whenever an acute stressor appears, such as being in an earthquake, being robbed at gunpoint, or coming across a bear on a nature hike. Acute stress activates the sympathetic nervous system, which prepares you to either put up a fight or flee a dangerous situation.
The fight-or-flight response is triggered by: (1) the amygdala, an almond-shaped structure in the temporal lobes that is part of the limbic or emotional brain, which sends a signal to… (2) the hypothalamus and pituitary gland to secrete adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), which signals… (3) the adrenal glands, located on the top of the kidneys, to flood the body with cortisol, adrenalin, and other chemicals to rocket you into action.
Here is a list of what happens when this response is set off:
Stress can cause a number of physical, psychological, cognitive, and behavioral symptoms. Being aware of the most common signs of stress and taking note of how many of them are affecting you can help you understand if you need to seek help.
Physical symptoms include:
Psychological and cognitive symptoms include:
Behavioral symptoms include:
This is some of the feedback we have received from our esteemed clients.