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When Adjusting Is Difficult
Many times in a person’s life, we need to adapt. Big changes can happen, sometimes unexpectedly, and it can be hard to adjust. In the case of a loss, a traumatic event, or even a positive life change like changing careers or moving to a new city, some people become overwhelmed with the stressful feelings accompanying change. These events or life issues can feel devastating and very difficult to cope with, causing the development of a condition known as stress response syndrome. Luckily, this mental condition has mental health treatment options to help overcome it.
What Is Stress Response Syndrome?
Stress response syndrome is called when the mind and body react to an external stressor, causing a person to experience more stress than expected. The “fight or flight” response is triggered, with the body staying alert and ready for so long that the system eventually adapts to cope with high levels of stress, continuing to secrete stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol long after it is necessary.
This syndrome affects how you feel and starts to cause problems in your everyday life. You may have trouble at work, you may experience difficulties in your relationships, and you may begin to develop further mental health disorders like anxiety or depression due to the behavioral and emotional reactions you are experiencing. You may also experience symptoms like:
- Tearfulness, feeling sad or hopeless
- Difficulty sleeping
- Loss of appetite or overeating
- Frustration and irritability
- Difficulty functioning in daily activities like work or social gatherings
- Feeling overwhelmed or distressed
- Avoiding essential things like paying your bills or calling in sick to work
- Feeling worried, anxious, or stressed out
- Changes in the way you think and feel about the world\
- Headaches or stomach aches
- New, destructive behaviors like drug use, reckless driving, etc.
- Withdrawal or isolation from people you care about
The good news is that stress response syndrome is absolutely treatable and will not last forever, especially if you receive the proper care and therapy. At Alter Behavioral Health, our team is experienced in treating mental illnesses like stress response syndrome, and we are here now to help you if you are feeling overwhelmed with life.
Who Is at Risk of Stress Response Syndrome?
Anybody can experience stress response syndrome, regardless of age, gender, or lifestyle. It is usually triggered during or after a major life event like experiencing the death of a loved one, having a serious illness, losing a job, ending a relationship, being in an accident, having a baby, or experiencing a natural disaster. Positive or negative in nature, any big change can cause this syndrome to develop.
It may be that certain genetic traits cause some people’s bodies to react more strongly to stress or that a person’s past life experiences and traumatic events can increase a person’s vulnerability.
There is no known way to prevent yourself from developing stress response syndrome, but it has been noted that those with strong community and family support may have an easier time working through major changes, and with proper clinical treatment, anybody can see improvements.
9 Impacts of Stress Response Syndrome
Some of the impacts of untreated, long-term stress response syndrome include:
- Experiencing burnout and fatigue
- A weakened immune system
- Reduced stress tolerance
- Muscle tension and pain
- Digestive issues
- Reproductive issues
- Increased risk of heart disease, heart attack, and high blood pressure
- Memory and cognition impairment
- Certain disorders may develop out of feeling long-term, consistent stress, such as mood disorders, anxiety, depression, PTSD, insomnia, and more
Treatment Options for Stress Response Syndrome
The treatment for stress response syndrome is multifaceted and depending on your individual circumstances may include treatments like:
- Interpersonal therapy – This type of therapy is a one-on-one conversation with your therapist in which you explore current events in your life. You will look at your current relationships, the changes in your life, and how these factors may affect your behavior and stress responses. Understanding the “why” behind your feelings and actions can be a huge relief and can prompt changes in the way you think about things and in your actions as well
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) – This is a form of talk therapy that focuses on challenging your thoughts and making changes to the way you behave. CBT helps people to see the connection between thoughts, emotions, and actions, making big mindset changes that can help the client move forward in life on a more positive trajectory
- Prescription medications – Not everybody needs medication to treat the symptoms of stress, but if you have a co-occurring mental health disorder or have further issues that cannot be treated by therapy alone, certain psychiatric medications may be included in your treatment program. Your dosage and diagnosis will be made by qualified professionals and maybe a long-term or short-term temporary prescription depending on your individual needs
- Living a healthier life – eating well, getting exercise, seeing things through a positive lens, having a good sense of humor, not taking life too seriously, using relaxation techniques, and taking time for gratitude can help reduce feelings of everyday stress
- Support at home – surrounding yourself with supportive people and cultivating healthy friendships can provide you with more support and give you somebody to talk to when life feels overwhelming
Alter Behavioral Health Is Ready to Help If You’re How to Treat Stress Response Syndrome
The thought of seeking help when you are experiencing high levels of stress may feel like you are adding even more work onto your already overloaded plate, but the reality is that the sooner you get treatment for your stress disorder, the better you will feel.
There are many strategies and coping mechanisms you can use in your daily life to protect yourself and deal with difficult life situations, and with the help of the caring and compassionate team at Alter Behavioral Health, you will learn how to transform your life into a positive way, while improving the way that you feel on a day-by-day basis.
Our skilled therapists and clinicians use data-directed holistic care in our California-based residential facility to address each of our client’s physical, psychological, social, and educational needs so that we can lead them down a personalized path to healing. Treatment at Alter Behavioral Health is provided inside a safe, calming environment where you can stop, regroup, and focus on your healing without life’s everyday stress getting in the way.
Your customized care plan may include different types of therapy and medication. For some, staying in our residential center is ideal, while others can opt for regular visits while living at home in an outpatient treatment program. We will work hard to treat stress’s physical and psychological impact on your current condition and give you useful tools to help you with future stress.
If you are feeling overwhelmed by the stress in your life and are wondering what you can do to overcome this difficult time, please call 866-647-2716. Our team will answer your questions and help you to decide whether residential treatment with our team is appropriate for your needs.