Signs of stress

Signs of stress

The symptoms of stress

There are hundreds of signs and symptoms of stress, but some of the most common include:

• Not being able to sleep properly

• Poor concentration and increased irritability

• Drinking excess caffeine or alcohol, and/or smoking more

• An inability to make decisions, and feeling increasingly frustrated by this

• Palpitations of the heart, a ‘lump’ in the throat or stomach, dry mouth and slight tremor of the hands

• Always feeling that something needs to be done, and that you cannot simply sit and relax


More worrying stress symptoms

These symptoms may be severe, especially if anxiety is present (sufferers may genuinely believe they are about to die), but more worrying symptoms – which you should consult your doctor about – are:

Chest pain, radiating into the neck or arm. This pain may feel like a ‘crushing’ or heavy sensation and may be brought on by exertion or exercise.

• An inability to swallow food properly, especially bread or meat – it feels like food sticks in the gullet.

• Weight loss or alteration in the normal bowel habit (such as constipation or diarrhoea).

• A rapid or erratic pulse rate for no obvious reason, which may occur when relaxed or at rest.

• Feelings of self-harm or suicidal thoughts.


Deciding when your stress symptoms mean you need help

Everyone has different stress threshold, but most people need further help when some or all of the following occur:

• Life no longer feels enjoyable – it is a constant struggle to feel on top of things.

Relationships are put at risk because of the symptoms of stress. (link to stress and relationships page),           

• Irritability and anger/frustration are present every day.

• Alcohol or cigarette intake increases radically.

• A previously normal sex drive is diminished.

• Feelings of self-loathing develop and lack of self-worth.



Dealing with stress PDF