Symptoms of Stress

PSYCH-105 Industrial Psychology

Chapter 10: Stress Management

Unit 1

Unit 2

Unit 3

Unit 4


Symptoms of Stress

Addressing employee stress requires first being able to recognize when a problem exists. Although nothing can take the place of an employee survey, understanding the common symptoms of stress can help management take corrective actions before serious problems emerge. The following list identifies some of the common observable symptoms of stress. Since no two people are alike, not everyone will have all symptoms or a particular type of symptom. Some people are more prone to angry outbursts, aggressive behaviours, and even violence when stressed out. Others tend to withdraw and become depressed.

Physical Symptoms

  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness 
  • Fainting 
  • Muscle tics
  • Breathlessness
  • Sleep disturbances 
  • Decreased energy level
  • Uncharacteristic clumsiness
  • Muscle tension or headaches
  • Indigestion (Diarrhea, Constipation)
  • Stomach problems
  • Teeth grinding
  • Skin rashes

Mental Symptoms

  • Tension
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Memory lapses
  • Forgetfulness
  • Panic attacks
  • Confusion
  • Disorientation 
  • Job dissatisfaction 
  • Difficulty in making decisions 
  • Difficulty thinking clearly
  • Paranoia, defensiveness, and irrational fears

Behavioural Symptoms

  • Change in productivity 
  • Absence
  • Attrition 
  • Appetite change – too much or too little
  • Eating disorders – anorexia, bulimia
  • More irritability with family members
  • More use of alcohol, or cigarettes
  • More use of drugs or sleeping pills
  • Restlessness
  • Nail biting 
  • Procrastinating or neglecting responsibilities

Emotional Symptoms

  •  Anger 
  • Depression
  • Impatience
  • Fits of rage
  • Emotional outbursts
  • Chronic anxiety, nervousness, and worrying
  • Deterioration with personal hygiene and appearance
  • Reduced frustration tolerance (i.e., a low “boiling point”)

Keep in mind that the signs and symptoms of stress also can be caused by other psychological and medical problems. If you’re experiencing any of the warning signs of stress, it’s important to see a doctor for an evaluation. Your doctor can help you determine whether or not your symptoms are stress related.

Author – Dr. Niyati Garg

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