“Stress and anxiety” 3 September 2023

Q.I am 34(M) who’s been experiencing gastric issues for the better part of the year. Although I’ve had gut problems since childhood, my symptoms have worsened recently, accompanied by constant shoulder and back pain. Despite maintaining a watchful diet, I’ve had persistent stomach aches and digestion troubles. Seeking help from my family doctor, initial tests showed nothing alarming. Surprisingly, my doctor inquired about stress, which I initially dismissed. However, further investigation revealed that my upset stomach and muscle pain might stem from underlying anxiety due to stress. My doctor recommended I consult a mental health professional for a more in-depth discussion.

Ans. Yes, counselling and psychotherapy can help in relieving stress which can help in resolving medical symptoms. Long-term stress and anxiety can sometimes manifest as physical symptoms. It might be a good idea to consult a psychologist to discuss your symptoms and get a proper diagnosis to determine the underlying causes. They can help recommend suitable treatments. Shoulder and back stiffness due to anxiety might occur because the body’s stress response can cause muscles to tense up. The gut is often referred to as the “second brain” because it contains a complex network of nerves and neurotransmitters that can communicate with the brain. When you experience anxiety or stress, it can trigger the release of certain hormones and neurotransmitters that can impact digestion and the functioning of the gastrointestinal system. Seek help as soon as possible.

Q.I am 15(F) and I’ve noticed some changes in my behaviour over the past few months that I think might be related to anxiety. I’ve been feeling really anxious a lot of the time, and I catch myself overthinking things way more than usual. It’s been really hard to sleep because my mind just keeps racing. I’ve also been withdrawing from everyone and spending a lot of time in my room. I don’t really feel like talking to people or being around them, and it’s been tough to explain to my friends and family. I’ve even seen a big drop in how I’m doing in school. I used to do well, but my grades have gone down recently, and I’m having trouble focusing on my work. It’s been affecting my daily life and my ability to do things that I used to enjoy. I’m not really sure what’s going on.

Ans. Experiencing occasional stress and anxiety is normal, but when these symptoms become persistent and significantly affect daily life, seeking support from parents, guardians, teachers, school counsellors, or mental health professionals is important. Teenagers can experience symptoms of anxiety for a variety of reasons – hormonal changes, academic pressure, social pressure, conflicts at home, the desire to fit in, peer pressure etc. Common symptoms of anxiety in teenagers – uncontrollable worrying about various things in life, sudden changes in sleep patterns, irritability, difficulty concentrating in classes or otherwise, isolation, negative self- talk, sudden changes in appetite etc. we need to analyze and become aware of the exact reasons for your condition. A few sessions will help unravel the causes and relieve you of the symptoms. Do not delay in seeking help. You will be fine soon.

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