Stress is a normal physical response to events that make you feel threatened or upset your balance in some way. Modern life is full of hassles, deadlines, frustrations, and demands. For many people, stress is so commonplace that it has become a way of life but for others it requires more attention and support. Everyone reacts differently to stress, and some people may have a higher threshold than others. Some stress can be positive. A moderate level of stress can motivate us and make us perform better and more alert.
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Anxiety is a common, treatable condition most people can relate to.
It is normal to feel anxious when faced with something dangerous, difficult or unknown, for example when starting a job or sitting an exam. If everything goes well, the anxiety will most likely go away. This kind of anxiety can be helpful in stressful situations, because it increases alertness.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder caused by very stressful, frightening or distressing events. It can be anything that is out of the ordinary or deeply distressing to someone such as an accident, a fire or witnessing a traumatic event such as a death. It can also be large scale following a major natural disaster. Deliberate acts of violence, for example, being held at gunpoint or raped, are more likely to result in PTSD than natural events or accidents.
You can't always prevent stress, but there are lots of things you can do to manage stress better. What causes stress, its symptoms, how to tackle it and when to see your GP are covered in this helpful guide from NHS Choices. Also from the NHS, Stress - a self-help guide includes a guide to download and a video.