Women and Stress — Impact and Intervention

Coral Gables Counseling Center - Wednesday, October 03, 2018
By Mirta Pont, LCSW,

When I was thinking about writing this blog about women’s health, I thought of so many different issues impacting women. All of those issues always brought me back to a common denominator:  stress. Stress can be identified as the number one culprit to women’s mental, emotional and physical issues.

What is stress? Stress is how your body reacts to certain situations, such as challenging situations, life changes and even real danger. During stressful events, your body releases hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol. In a short term situation adrenaline can help one get out of danger; but if one is always “on alert” this can create a situation of clinical anxiety.   Consistently elevated cortisol over the long term produces glucose, leading to high blood sugar levels (Type II Diabetes).

Symptoms of stress range from chronic pain, headaches and upset  stomach to feeling like you have no control, trouble eating/sleeping and moodiness. With the latter symptoms, these may be signs of depression which is not easily understood and/or often undiagnosed.
Many women start drinking to numb or forget about their problems or deal with their feelings. This can lead to substance abuse disorder which is another serious problem.Historically, caretakers often put themselves last or even felt guilty if they take time to see a doctor or professional. In order to stay healthy, I recommend women make and keep their doctor’s appointments, take their prescribed medications, take time for themselves, use or create a support group, and seek professional help (if necessary).

Finally, if you’re feeling “funky” it might be useful to take a mental health day and do nothing or indulge in something you’d like to do. These acts of self care will improve your physical and mental health as well as decrease stress.