- What if I feel stressed or anxious due to the current situation?
Feeling anxious about an unpredictable situation is usually normal. But if the anxiety is overwhelming and the stress is affecting our day-to-day functioning, we need to pay attention.
- Why is it that only some people are stressed out though the pandemic has affected all?
It’s maybe because of the differences between individuals, in the type of stress, and in the way an individual deal with stress. Some personalities are more vulnerable to get very anxious, they might have existing mood or anxiety issues. Some people might lack adequate coping strategies to deal with stress in a healthy way. One’s resilience and the support system also play a protective role.
- How do we know that stress is affecting us?
In many ways- some have disturbed sleep, change in appetite, feeling anxious and sad, easily irritable, preoccupied with certain thoughts, decreased attention, and memory. Basically one feels that they are not as efficient at work as they used to be and also their behavior in social circles and within the family has changed.
Some have more bodily complaints- feeling tired for no reason, body pains, headaches, change in bowel habits, worsening of pre-existing medical problems although all recent check-ups may not reveal anything significant.
- Isn’t it in all one’s mind? And can’t they just think and be positive all the time?
Easier said. Just like we don’t tell a person with fever that by thinking and acting as if they don’t have that fever their temperature will come down, we just cannot tell a person who is depressed or anxious to cheer up or stay calm and not worry.
Fever has occurred due to a cause. And just because we cannot measure or scan a person’s sadness or anxiety, we cannot brush it aside as just a fault at one’s thinking. A person with these problems is indeed suffering and they definitely didn’t choose to be in that state.
Stress brings about so many changes in one’s body especially the brain. There is a change in the hormonal (cortisol, adrenaline, etc) levels and these affect the neurotransmitter balance in the brain, which directly affects the way certain areas of our brain function. This can change the circuits for our thinking, our emotions, our reactions, etc., and if longstanding can cause anxiety disorders and mood disorders.
- What stress is common nowadays?
Depends on one’s age and the affect of the pandemic in the region.
There is still lockdown in many areas and travel restrictions in many countries. Life has still not reached the precovid era.
Children and adolescents have been affected by a change in their life schedules, lack of social interactions, their playing, and physical activities, and having to face the behavior changes in their siblings or parents (who themselves are under their stress).
Adults are worried about job losses, threats, unpredictability, financial problems, issues with partners, difficulty in managing children at home, and lack of leisure or outlets to vent out.
The elderly are affected by their restrictions to move about given their higher risks, less of an interactive environment, and a general increase in health concerns and worries.
A discrete entity is the increased dependency and use of the electronic devices-mobiles and laptops, a type of digital addiction and difficulty managing it, seen across all ages but more difficult to manage in children and young adults.
- So what should one do if affected?
As individuals, we should take proactive rather than reactive ways to manage our mental health.
This can be done by having a healthy lifestyle, focussing on our strengths, working on our weaknesses, and developing healthy coping strategies. If we are aware of the stress we should acknowledge it rather than being in denial and should work on managing it.
Once stress has started affecting us, we need to take help from people close to us- friends or family members and still if it’s unmanageable, we need to take professional help.
- Whom should one meet?
One may discuss with their family doctor, or meet a psychologist or psychiatrist who will be able to guide them through counseling sessions or use of medicines if required.
- So should all under stress take medicines and what if it has to be life-long?
That is a very common misconception. All under stress need not take medicines. Medicines are for only those who have been diagnosed with clinical depression or anxiety disorders, have severe dysfunctions, and find it difficult just with counseling alone.
There are guidelines that doctors follow and treatment is for a prescribed time period.
Aster Clinic, Bur Dubai & Aster Hospital, Qusais.
To book an appointment Call – 044400500