Anxiety and Stress(patient information)

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Anxiety and Stress


What are the symptoms?

What are the causes?


When to seek urgent medical care?

Treatment options

Where to find medical care for Anxiety and Stress?

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1] Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Vindhya BellamKonda, M.B.B.S [2]


Stress can come from any event or thought that makes you feel frustrated, angry, or nervous. Anxiety is a feeling of fear and worry. The source of these symptoms is not always known.

What are the symptoms of Anxiety and Stress?

Stress is a normal feeling. In small doses, stress can help you get things done. Stress does not affect everyone the same way.

Many people feel stress symptoms in their body. You may be having pain in your abdomen, headaches, and muscle tightness or pain.

When you are very stressed, you may notice:

What causes Anxiety and Stress?

Many people have stress when they need to adapt or change.

Examples are:

  • Starting a new job or school
  • Moving to a new home
  • Getting married
  • Having a child
  • Breaking up with someone
  • An injury or illness to you, a friend, or a loved one is a common cause of stress. Feelings of stress and anxiety are common in people who feel depressed and sad.

Some drugs may cause or worsen symptoms of stress.

These can include:


Your doctor will want to know what medicines you are taking. Your doctor will also want to know if you use alcohol or drugs. You will have a physical exam and maybe some blood tests.

Your doctor may refer you to a mental health care provider. You can talk to them about your feelings, what seems to make your stress better or worse, and why you think you are having this problem.

Sometimes, medicines may help treat your symptoms.

When to seek urgent medical care?

Call a suicide hotline if you have thoughts of suicide.

Reasons you may want to seek more help are:

  • You have feelings of panic, such as dizziness, rapid breathing, or a racing heartbeat.
  • You are unable to work or function at home or at your job.
  • You have fears that you cannot control.
  • You are having memories of a traumatic event.
  • Do not stop taking any prescribed medicines without talking to your doctor.

Treatment options

What relieves stress is not the same for everyone. Making certain lifestyle changes is the best start.

  • Take breaks from work. Make sure to balance fun activities with your job and family duties. Schedule some leisure time every day. Spend time with people you enjoy, including your family.
  • Try learning to make things with your hands, playing an instrument, or listening to music.
  • Think about what might be giving you stress. Keep a diary of what is going on when you have these feelings.
  • Then, find someone you trust who will listen to you. Often just talking to a friend or loved one is all that you need to feel better. Most areas also have support groups and hotlines that can help.

Where to find medical care for Anxiety and Stress?

Directions to Hospitals Treating Anxiety and Stress