What is the difference between normal stress and a psychological disorder?

Stress is a normal psychological and physical reaction to positive or negative situations in your life, such as a new job or the death of a loved one. Stress itself is not abnormal or bad. What matters is how you handle stress.

When you find it difficult to adapt to a stressful change and find it difficult to go about your daily activities for more than a short time, you may have developed a psychological disorder, called adjustment disorder. Adjustment disorder is a type of stress-related mental illness that can affect your feelings, thoughts, and behaviors.

Signs and symptoms of an adjustment disorder may include:

  • Anxiety
  • Poor academic or professional results
  • Relationship issues
  • Sadness
  • thoughts of suicide
  • Worry
  • Difficulties sleeping

If you are facing a stressful situation in your life, try to take self-help measures, such as talking with your family or friends, practicing yoga or meditation, exercising regularly, avoiding alcohol and drugs and reducing your to-do list. If these techniques don’t help and you feel like you’re still struggling to cope, talk to your doctor or therapist.


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