According to one study, more than 30 percent of adults in the United States report experiencing high levels of stress.
When it comes to the workplace, however, some degree of stress from time to time is be expected with just about any occupation. And most people are able to effectively deal with situations like this and go about their normal lives.
But if mental stress – defined as the body’s reaction to heightened anxiety – occurs on a regular basis, you could develop an assortment of health-related problems because of it.
What Causes Mental Stress?
Mental stress involving the workplace can have several sources. Some people become stressed from unrealistic work pressures, such as having to constantly meet tight deadlines. Other times, mental stress comes from colleagues, clients, co-workers, or superiors. Even a demanding job that becomes even more time-consuming with mandatory overtime and other burdens can cause a boost in mental anxiety if it results in issues with maintaining an acceptable work-home or work-life balance that didn’t exist before.
Psychologically, you might become excessively worried or anxious if you are mentally stressed. Stress of this nature sometimes manifests itself as noticeable changes in your mood and the way you interact with others, both at work and in your personal life. Physical responses might include insomnia and similar sleep issues, changes in appetite, headaches, or an increased heart rate.
Some people experience episodes of hyperventilation or shortness of breath due to regular exposure to mental stress triggers. Mental stress may also contribute to the following health-related problems:
- A noticeable decrease in energy
- Chronic back or neck pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Frequent illnesses
- Changes in libido
- Digestive problems
Managing Mental Stress
Treatment for mental stress tends to be a fairly complex process. For instance, if your increased mental anxiety is contributing to muscle tension that’s causing you to experience lower back pain (LBP), you may first visit a spine specialist to rule out common sources of this type of discomfort. If mental stress is causing your blood pressure to spike, initial treatment may involve medication.
In fact, it’s not unusual for people with work-related mental stress to go through a series of diagnostic tests to rule out physical sources of the symptoms experienced. You may be able to speed up this process and eliminate the need for unnecessary testing by discussing your likely sources of mental stress. If it’s believed that your physical symptoms are related to mental or psychological stress, treatment may involve:
- Massage therapy and other relaxation techniques
- Cognitive behavioral therapy to change how you perceive and deal with stressful situations
- Mental health counseling
- The development of personal coping mechanisms
If mental stress brought on by your workplace is affecting your well-being, you may be entitled to compensation.