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Stressed Out? Signs Your Health Is In Danger

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CBS New York (con't)

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NEW YORK (CBS 2) — It’s one of the most common complaints: “I’m stressed.”

But how do you know if you’re just overwhelmed with a busy schedule, or if you’re in serious danger from being stressed out?

There are a number of silent symptoms your body may be sending you if you’re too tense, but experts say they are now easier than ever to get help with.

“When you have stress you feel like you can’t catch your breath,” said Dr. Robert Schacter, the director of the Stress Center of New York. “You feel like you can never do enough in the time you have.”

This can lead to other health problems, ones you may not associate with stress or even think twice about, like itchy skin, bleeding gums, odd dreams and acne.

Then there are ones you might expect: Headaches, irritability and difficulty sleeping.

Doctors say these symptoms often lead to other unhealthy habits – eating, smoking, exercising less – and the vicious cycle can take a real toll on the body.

“Stress can cause stroke,” said Dr. Schacter. “It can cause heart attack.”

On the bright side, it’s easier than ever to get help.

“I teach people to identify when they’re under stress,” said Dr. Schacter.

The Stress Center of New York is just one of a growing number of stress centers popping up across the country.

“There are so many times we’re under stress and just take it for granted,” Dr. Schacter said.

He trains people in techniques to help manage stress — from simple breathing exercises to wearing a relaxation machine that combines a series of light and sound proven to stimulate the part of the brain that controls relaxation.

“If you can relax and break that cycle, even it it’s for two times during the day, you can reduce the overall effects of stress,” Dr. Schacter said.

The American Institute of Stress found that the results of stress in the work place cost businesses over $300 billion each year in stress-related compensation claims, absenteeism and health insurance costs.

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