Knowing When It’s Time to Visit a Physician

Most people experience stress in some form on a daily basis, whether in the form of finances, social stressors, work demands or other daily challenges. In fact, 80 percent of workers experience stress through their jobs, and about 50 percent feel they need help managing their stress, according to the American Institute of Stress. In extreme cases, stress can interfere with a person’s daily routine and either create or exacerbate health conditions. If you suffer from high levels of stress, there are a few symptoms you should be on the lookout for. Here are four stress-related symptoms that should be addressed by a visit to the doctor.

Racing Heart, Dizziness and Rapid Breathing

Stress and anxiety can have very obvious physical consequences. The most common is an acceleration of the cardiovascular system, including a rapid heartbeat, dizziness, and fast breathing, according to Medline Plus (1). Individuals may find it difficult to bring their heart rate back down to a resting rate. When this happens, the condition should be addressed by a doctor. Stress in such high amounts could cause damage to your heart, increase your risk of fainting or result in further physical complications.

Disruptive Anxiety and Distractedness

According to the Cleveland Clinic, high levels of stress, including anxiety and general distractedness, could spark a marked decline in performance at either work or school, or even the inability to fulfill your responsibilities in the classroom or workplace. In fact, 65 percent of American workers admit that workplace stress has created difficulties for them at their job, with 10 percent of those individuals reporting severe effects. One in five workers surveyed by the American Institute of Stress said they have ultimately quit past jobs due to an inability to manage the stress. Whenever this anxiety and inability to focus becomes debilitating, a doctor should be consulted.

Severe Gastrointestinal Pain

Gastrointestinal pain can be caused by a wide range of factors, making it difficult to discern in every case whether it is directly caused by stress. Even if it isn’t exclusively caused by high stress, it’s very possible that stress could exacerbate gastrointestinal pain, such as the effects of GERD. But if gastrointestinal pain is chronic and appears to be at its worst during periods of high stress, then stress could be the culprit.

Stomach pain, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting and other ailments and medical conditions could all be caused or worsened by excessive stress. These conditions could lead to stomach ulcers, esophageal damage and other physical complications. While some medications and treatments can deliver short-term relief, it’s important to visit a doctor to treat the cause of the gastrointestinal pain, as opposed to just the symptoms.

Suicidal or Self-Harming Thoughts

In addition to physical effects, stress can severely impact your mental health. In extreme cases, high stress can cause a person to experience suicidal thoughts of committing self-harm. These are severe and dangerous complications of stress that need to be addressed immediately. For that reason, it’s very important that individuals visit a doctor if any of these thoughts start to inhabit their mind. A doctor can discuss the stress you are experiencing and refer you to a specialist who can help you with your suicidal thoughts.

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