Stress/Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Stress

Everyone experiences stress throughout their lives, but there is good stress and bad stress. The trick is to recognize when your stress is healthy or unhealthy.

Stress is the body's preparation to perform with focus, stamina, strength and alertness in a tough situation. For example, good stress is when you have to slam on your car brakes to avoid an accident. Good stress keeps you on your toes and ready to rise to a challenge.

Bad stress, on the other hand, leads to excessive worrying and stress overload. This stress leaves a person feeling overwhelmed, burnt out, and mentally and physically exhausted. Bad stress can lead to lack of sleep, weakened immune system, ulcers or other unwanted physical ailments.

Stressors

Many situations cause stress. These situations are called stressors. The moreyou have and the longer you have them, the higher your stress level. This leads to more physiological and emotional symptoms because your body is constantly on edge, releasing hormones to help you relax.

Remember that stress is not only caused by specific, short-term events. Dealing with divorce, family conflicts, relationship problems or death are examples of long-term situations that can have a harmful effect on the body.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Some stress is so severe that it interferes with life. People who are victims or witnesses of traumatic events can develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

PTSD is a serious disorder that requires professional help to alleviate. People suffering from PTSD tend to feel that their safety is threatened. They often feel afraid and helpless. Flashbacks are a typical symptom of PTSD and may occur on a regular basis.

Flashbacks are like uncontrollable daydreams, where the person relives the traumatic event in their heads but feel that they are really there. The person re-experiences all of the emotional feelings associated with that event. These flashbacks are usually easily triggered and very unpleasant.

Unlike normal stress, PTSD often lasts longer than a month and includes flashbacks, hyperalertness, emotional numbness (like dulled feelings of love and pleasure) and avoidance of anything related to the traumatic event.

*All information on stress and PTSD was taken from http://www.kidshealth.org/teen/your_mind/emotions/stress.html

For more information on either stress or PTSD please visit: 

Teens' Health:

 http://www.kidshealth.org/teen/your_mind/emotions/stress.html

Mental Health and Mental Illness Resources:

 http://www.datehookup.com/content-mental-health-and-mental-illness-resources.htm

The National Institute of Mental Health:

http://www.nimh.nih.gov/

Resolve Crisis Network: 1-888-7-YOU CAN (1-888-796-8226)
www.upmc.com/resolvecrisis

If you feel that you suffer from stress and or PTSD, please contact the La Roche college counseling services for help. We are located in Bold Hall 261 and 259, and can be reached at 412-847-2506.