Medical Treatments for Stress

January 31, 2009 by  
Filed under Featured, Treatment Of Stress

Sometimes non-medical treatments for stress don’t work, or they just aren’t enough.  For chronic stress especially, medical help may be necessary.  If you’ve tried other forms of stress management and nothing has worked, medical treatment may be your only option.

There are many different types of medical treatments available for stress.  Some of these involve various forms of clinical behavioral therapy.  Others may involve the use of biofeedback or other forms of therapy.  But medication can also be successfully used in many instances.

Anxiety Drugs

Medication that is used for anxiety can be successfully used to treat stress in many cases.  Anxiety and stress are similar in many ways, and are closely related.  Medications like Xanax, Valium, Ativan, and other benzodiazapines are popular.  They can be highly addictive and have serious side effects, so these aren’t generally given except in extreme circumstances or for short-term stress management.

Other anxiety medications like Clonazepam (Klonopin) aren’t quite as addictive, but may take longer to work and might not have the same level of effectiveness as the benzos.

Antidepressants

These can be used in some cases, especially when stress coexists with depression.  Sometimes when depression is controlled, the stress is mitigated naturally.  Other times the stress will still be present, but it will be minimized as the patient’s depression lessens and other parts of their life improve.

Antidepressants can also have very serious side effects, so they should be used with caution.  Remember to discuss with your doctor the potential side effects of any medication, as well as any interactions with other medications you might be taking.

Taking medication is never an easy choice, but sometimes it’s necessary.  Stress can wreak havoc on your body and your mind, so don’t be afraid to seek medical treatment if you’ve tried other stress management methods and nothing else has worked.

Building a Support Network

January 31, 2009 by  
Filed under Featured, Treatment Of Stress

One very important thing you can do to help reduce stress in your life if to build a strong support network.  Everyone needs a strong network of people they can rely on to be there for them and help them in times of trouble.  This could be friends, family, coworkers, mental health professionals, or support groups.  The important thing is to have a strong foundation of people around you to support you whenever you need it.

Most people depend on their family to be their support network.  This might include parents, grandparents, siblings, children, grandchildren, spouses, or extended family.  If you have a strong support network within your own family, you already have a sensational start.  Unfortunately, a lot of people just don’t have this kind of support network in their families.

Even if you have an enormous amount of support from within your family, it’s still advisable to build a strong network outside the family unit, as well.  Families can run into issues, sometimes.  You may also need someone to talk to about your family, especially if a family issue one day becomes one of your biggest stressors.

The larger and more diverse your support network, the more likely you are to have help when you need it.  Just be sure to build a network of trustworthy individuals.  If you can trust or rely on someone, you might be better off keeping them out of your network, or at least keeping the relationship mostly casual.

Whenever times are hard, we all need someone to help us through.  If you don’t have someone, get someone.  Even if you have to enlist the help of coworkers, someone from your church, or a professional therapist, you need that network available.

And don’t forget support groups.  They can be a remarkable source of friendly faces.  If you can’t find one, start one!  You may find others who need someone just as much as you do.

Organize to Reduce Stress

January 31, 2009 by  
Filed under Featured, Treatment Of Stress

Many people tend to think of stress reduction and stress management as involving therapy, the use of medication, and treatments like meditation and biofeedback.  But there are other treatments than can actually be a lot more simple.  In fact, the best way to treat any problem is to go after the root.  In this case, we’ll be looking at a very common cause of excess stress – being disorganized.

When you lack organization, stress can overwhelm you.  Every event like losing car keys, misplacing important documents, forgetting apointments, and missing birthdays and anniversaries is stressful.  These events can add up and eventually lead to chronic stress.

A simple solution to help ease a lot of this stress is to organize your life better.  Most people aren’t as organized as they’d like to be.  You may even think you’re pretty organized, but if you look at your life, you might notice some areas that are lacking.

For example, do you have a clear way of keeping track of appointments?  Marking them on a calendar might not be enough, especially if you are a forgetful person by nature.  I had a friend who was constantly missing appointments, and I asked her why she didn’t just mark them on her calendar.  “I do!” she responded.  “But then I forget to look at the calendar!”

Using a software program that sends you reminders can be helpful.  If you don’t have a computer, you can subscribe to reminder services that can telephone or text you whenever you have an important event that you ask to be reminded of.

How organized is your home, your office, or your desk?  I’m not asking how clean it looks, I’m asking how organized it is.  Many places appear to be clean and organized, and then you ask the inhabiter to find something and they run off rummaging through endless disorganized drawers and closets full of clutter.

If you aren’t as organized as you’d like to be and you don’t know where to start, you can enlist the help of a professional organizer.  They can actually be found relatively inexpensively, and they often end up paying for themselves in terms of stress reduction and time saved!

If you’re already super-organized, that’s great news!  But if you’re like most of us, you could always use a bit more organization in your life.  Take the time to find out where you could organize your life a bit better.  You’ll probably find several areas where you could become better organized and you’ll save yourself a lot of stress.

Meditation For Stress

January 31, 2009 by  
Filed under Treatment Of Stress

Meditation is a process that anyone can use to reduce stress and regain mental focus and clarity.  There’s nothing magical or mystical about the process.  In fact, the process is entirely physiological.  Mediation helps bring brainwaves and brain chemicals back into balance, in much the same way sleep does each night.

There are many different types of meditation.  You can use special audio programs to guide yourself, or you can use a simplified form of meditation that requires only a relaxing position and a few minutes of peace and quiet, or at least some uninterrupted time.

Here’s a simple meditation routine you can use anywhere:

  • Start by sitting comfortably, whereever and however you are comfortable.
  • Close your eyes.
  • Take a deep breath, hold it for ten seconds, then slowly release it.
  • Now start by relaxing your muscles starting from either your toes and working up, or the top of your head and working down.
  • Notice each and every muscle group as you relax it individually.  (This may take practice.)
  • Focus your attention on breathing slowly and rhythmically.
  • Pay attention to your breathing, as it will help guide you into a meditative state.
  • Keep breathing, counting each breath if you need to in order to keep your mind focused.
  • Keep this up for anywhere from 5-20 minutes, as you have time or desire.

You can also focus on an object like a candle, photograph, or object.  You can use various sounds like your own voice humming or chanting, music, relaxation sounds, brainwave entrainment CDs, or other noises you find helpful.  Imagery is also helpful.  Imagining yourself in the calmest, most serene environment you can personally imagine is very soothing.

Don’t dismiss meditation as new-age mumbo jumbo until you’ve given it a try.  Most people are shocked at just how effective it can really be!