stress & adjustment

Stress is an unavoidable part of life. Everyone feels stress on occasion. In fact, the American Psychological Association (APA) conducts an annual Stress in America survey, and for the first time in 10 years, the average overall stress level reported by Americans rose between 2016-2017.

There are different forms of stress, and not all are considered bad. For instance, some stress can help us perform better, respond to danger, or prepare for a challenging life event. Some stressors may be perceived as negative life events, such as pressures from work, school, family, loss of a job, divorce, healthcare, death, the economy, political issues, or climate change. Other forms of stress can be related to trauma like natural disasters, environmental violence, assaults, war, experiences of discrimination, or accidents. Further, stress may be experienced as routine, a short-term occurrence, or as a chronic condition. In addition to psychological and emotional risks, unaddressed long-term or chronic stress can have detrimental effects on body systems, including the musculoskeletal, respiratory, cardiovascular, endocrine, gastrointestinal, nervous, and reproductive systems.

The effects of stress can build up over time. Not everyone copes with or adjusts to stress the same way. While some recover from stressful events well, others find it more difficult. In some cases, exposure to stressful events can manifest as anxiety, depression, fear-based, dissociative, angry, aggressive, or dysphoric symptoms. Stress can also be associated with physical ailments or somatic complaints, or a combination of these. Stress related problems in adolescents and adults may include post-traumatic stress, acute stress, adjustment problems, or other specified trauma and stress-related problems.

At Psychology Works of California, our licensed psychologists are expertly trained to accurately assess and treat stress and adjustment issues.

common signs and symptoms of stress

  • Digestive distress

  • Headaches

  • Weight or appetite changes

  • Sleep changes

  • Feeling tired or have little energy

  • Trouble concentrating or indecisiveness

  • Difficulty completing daily tasks

  • Irritability or temper outbursts

  • Sadness

  • Relational difficulties

  • Somatic, cold, or flu-like symptoms

  • More frequent or severe viral infections

  • Increased alcohol or substance use

  • More serious mental disorders

  • Other serious health problems (i.e., high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes)