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What to look for: Stress

Learn about the thoughts, feelings, behaviours and physical symptoms connected to stress.

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The symptoms here show up early on, but other symptoms may develop later. Everyone experiences stress differently and not everyone will have all the symptoms.

Thoughts add

  • Find it hard to concentrate on what you’re doing
  • Have trouble making decisions
  • Forget things more than usual
  • Have thoughts that constantly run through your head

Feelings add

  • Feel irritable
  • Feel overwhelmed
  • Get frustrated easily by things you used to handle pretty well
  • Feel you might lose control or not be able to handle things anymore

Behaviours add

  • Stop doing activities that were fun or important to you
  • Use alcohol or drugs to deal with stress

Physical Signs add

  • Feel dizzy or light-headed
  • Notice changes in your appetite or sleep patterns
  • Feel exhausted or worn out
  • Feel sick or have no appetite
  • Have headaches or muscle tension in the back and neck

Remember, symptoms are changes from your usual routines or habits. Not everyone experiences the same set of symptoms or to the same level. Most people experience these symptoms from time to time but they become a problem when they keep coming back or don’t go away. They can also indicate there is a physical health problem. If you are able to recognize these symptoms and take action, you can prevent problems from getting worse.

Symptoms that are a result of stress can vary:

  • From mild to severe
  • In how long they have been going on
  • In how much they interfere in your daily life

Concerned about someone else?

It can be hard to understand why a friend is so stressed, even over stuff that doesn’t seem to matter. It doesn’t help to to tell your friend  not to stress so much. For information on how to support a friend, visit Supporting a Friend.

Families are often the first to notice changes and become concerned. For information on how to support a young person, visit Supporting a Family Member.

What Next?

If you want to find out if this is something you are experiencing or are looking for tips to help manage stress here are a few options.