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How do I know it's stress?

Stress has a wide variety of possible symptoms and causes, so our doctors will need as much information as you can give them to provide an accurate stress diagnosis for you.

By asking the right questions and ruling out similar health conditions, they will make sure you get the best possible treatment and stop stress from dominating your life.

How do our doctors diagnose stress?

The first step in your diagnosis is a series of confidential questions. Your doctor will ask you about your symptoms and your lifestyle. Common questions include:

  • How long you have been feeling stressed
  • Whether you are currently taking any medication
  • Whether you (or a member of your immediate family) have ever had a mental health condition before
  • Whether you have suffered any past trauma that could contribute to your stress
  • What triggers your symptoms

It’s important that you answer all of their questions honestly. Remember, your responses will not be shared with anyone (unless the doctor believes you are a risk to yourself or others).

Of course, our doctors know that talking about how you’re feeling isn’t easy. They will approach the subject sensitively and you can answer at your own pace.

The information you give will allow the doctor to build a picture of how your symptoms are affecting you and identify the most appropriate treatment.

Can you get tested for stress?

While a question and answer session is the most effective way to identify how stress is impacting your life, the doctor may choose to rule out other possibilities with a range of tests.

The wide range of symptoms associated with stress can also indicate an entirely different condition. For example, hyperventilating and getting chest pain, feeling dizzy or having trouble sleeping can all be indicators of conditions such as anaemia or a thyroid issue.

To avoid prescribing unnecessary treatment or medication, it’s important for the doctor to be sure that these physical problems aren’t causing your symptoms.

What happens next?

If the doctor decides your symptoms suggest you are suffering from stress, they will recommend a suitable treatment.

Treatments can include:

  • A talking therapy, such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
  • Medication
  • A combination of the two

In order for it to be effective, your treatment will be tailored to your circumstances. This is why it helps our doctors to have as much information as possible. Find out more how stress can be treated here.

It is likely that you will also be asked to book a follow-up consultation in one or two weeks. This will allow one of our doctors to check that your treatment is working and, if needed, suggest changes to make it even better.