Thursday, March 10, 2011

When to get help for stress

Every day we go through stress that is just a part of life, and usually manage to deal with things ourselves and with the help of friends and family. However, major events and the losses that go with them can trigger feelings of helplessness and sadness that even the usual personal coping methods can't fix.

Many signs may indicate a need for outside help, such as physical or verbal abuse of your spouse or child. This may include yelling and calling names, criticizing, hitting, kicking, and other acts of violence. Other signs of stress are panic attacks that include a high pulse rate and breathing difficulty; feelings of depression that last more than a week, including changes in your eating or sleeping habits; inability to concentrate, numbness, or bouts of crying.

Other signs that outside help is needed include thoughts of suicide, thoughts or talk of divorce or separation and feelings of isolation.

Sometimes our families give us clues that the stress is too much. For example, children may act up at home and school. Parenting may become more difficult because you can't concentrate on your children and give them the attention and supervision they need.

Help is available from professionals who are trained to help with stress. They can provide the extra, needed support. To find professional help, talk to your family doctor, ask a trusted friend if they know a counselor, or call your local crisis center.

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