When does Stress become an Illness?
By Dr Angela Rai, The London General Practice
In the second of our regular features from The London General Practice, Dr Rai discusses the effects of stress on the body and how this can become a problematic condition.
We all know the feeling, be it at work or at home; there’s just not enough time, and too much to do. Demanding deadlines in an unforgiving world where we’re always contactable and everyone expects an immediate response.
Stress affects us all; a little pressure can be good, making us more alert and responsive, but too much leads to declining performance, fatigue and potentially an inability to function.
Dr Rai who specialises in Anxiety and Stress Management at The London General Practice presents regularly on the topic to individuals, corporations and businesses.
“In some respects stress and anxiety are subjective measures and the outcome is dependent on several factors including the subjects own personal resilience. However, what we do know is that there are strong physiological links between stress, anxiety, and an individual’s ability to function correctly.
It’s important to realise that there are direct links between stress (which can feel like an intangible concept) and our medical health and wellbeing, resulting in real discernible changes to how we perform.
We also know that there are several factors which may make a person more susceptible to becoming severely impacted by stress or anxiety. These include their lifestyle, sleep patterns, alcohol, workload, underlying physical health as well as genetic or hereditary pre-dispositions.
Working with patients and organisations we provide several screening options for underlying medical issues, as well as give practical advice on relaxation, exercise, nutrition and sleep. There are also medical interventions which can be appropriate in some instances.”
Dr Rai also advocates thinking of our personal ‘resilience’ as a fixed resource. We may feel that the best way to deal with a stressful day is to hit the gym, or go for a run – ‘burning off the tensions of the day’. However if our reserves are already depleted as a result of prolonged stress then moderate or light exercise may be more beneficial, aiding recovery and guarding against further illness or injury.
Whilst this is a complex area there is a lot that can be done to help identify the issues and proactively implement changes in order to reduce the consequences of stress.
The London General Practice provides a wide range of Private Medical Services including helping individuals and organisations understand and deal with stress. If you would like to contact the Practice please telephone 020 7935 1000.