Stress is caused by the many demands made on our time and energy and the expectations we have of ourselves. Not all stress is bad – stress can alert you to potential dangers and can spur you on to achieve a goal or complete a task. Sometimes though the pressure becomes so intense or persistent that you may feel unable to cope.

You can become more and more exhausted, tense and irritable. This can make you feel you are losing control over your life and that there is no way of regaining this control.

Symptoms of stress

The symptoms of stress can be both mental and physical, and can vary from person to person:

  • Mental symptoms can include anxiety, anger, depression, lack of appetite, sleeplessness, crying often, tiredness and difficulty concentrating.
  • Physical symptoms can include chest pains, cramps, muscle spasms, chest pains, dizziness, restlessness, nervous twitches and breathlessness.

In the long-term some of these stress symptoms can affect your physical health.

Depression is an illness, just as flu and chickenpox are. Depression is one of the most common medical conditions in Britain today.  Depression is when we feel low or sad and can’t find any pleasure in life. All of us feel like this from time to time, but depression is when these feeling last longer and are more extreme.

Symptoms of depression

Symptoms of depression could include:

  • Feeling hopeless, irritable, anxious, worried or tearful;
  • Feeling unable to cope with everyday things that you would not have thought twice about in the past;
  • Losing your appetite, losing weight or having trouble sleeping;
  • In extreme cases you might even think about harming yourself or other people;

Depression can build up slowly, so you may not realise it is affecting you. Due to the stressful nature of their lives, carers can be more prone to depression.