Stressed Out? Don't Wait to Get Help.
anonymous Asks ...
My new job is basically an accounts management position. There is a lot of responsibility and stress. Ever since I was promoted 8 months ago I have felt a lot of stress and anxiety all the time. I thought it would get better as I got into the position but it hasn’t, though I have become adept at my new responsibilities. As I understand it, anxiety is unreasonable fear and worry and stress is worry that is proportional to a situation. My worries are proportional to my responsibilities but when my stomach is in twists at night it feels a lot more like anxiety. As I understand it if it is constant anxiety I need medication or therapy but if it is just too much stress I need to focus on eliminating stress right? I think it is stress but I am not sure because if it is just stress why has the way I feel not changed even though I have become much better at my job? Should I see a psychologist?
David Johnson Says ...
You have asked a lot of questions! I'll answer them one at a time, starting with the most important.
You are wondering if you need treatment for your anxiety. Intense anxiety all the time is not healthy. Unresolved, high anxiety will do considerable damage to your body over time. The first choice for treatment of any mental health issue is to see a licensed mental health professional. I would suggest a clinic with a multidisciplinary team including psychiatry is a good choice for a first time encounter. The problem you describe is probably more complicated than you might expect in that your issue is likely not as simple as job stress. A good assessment and some counseling might be all you need. Then if needed, the therapist will refer you to a psychiatrist.
Generally treatment of anxiety by therapy is pretty effective. Medications specifically for anxiety do not provide a long term solution. Benzodiazapines, the most effective medications in the short run, are addictive. They include Klonapin, Ativan, Xanax or Valium. Even if you don't abuse the prescription, tolerance builds up and they become less effective without increasing the dose and thus increasing the risk of addiction. Worse, they train the brain to stop producing it's own chemical assistants for anxiety. In other words, benzos can make the problem worse over time.
So go see a psychotherapist and get started.
You have some creative definitions for anxiety and stress. Anxiety refers to the body's activation in the face of stress in the environment. Anxiety can be the result of many different situations and emotions. Fear, guilt, shame, anger to name just a few can result in anxiety, especially if you are unclear how you feel. Stress is anything in the environment that makes you feel anxiety. Worry, which can be described as thoughts stuck in your head spinning like a car in a rut, often results in anxiety about a future event. Regret is similar, but about past events.
I wish you luck in addressing your problem.