It may be more than simple stress. Find out when you should see a doctor.

Stress is a normal part of life. It can be caused by positive changes like landing your dream job, or getting married and negative ones like too much pressure at work, financial worries or relationship problems. Stress can be helpful when you’re playing a competitive sport or when you’re facing a deadline at work, but too much stress is a bad thing.

It’s important to take steps to reduce your stress. Some people might exercise three or four times a week, meditate daily, have a supportive group of friends, take time for themselves and still feel stressed.

Prolonged stress causes changes in the brain that are similar to those of a depressed person, reports WebMD. If you know you are prone to depression and standard stress relief techniques (as listed above) aren’t working, you should check in with your doctor. He or she can help identify if you are experiencing depression. Therapy can help or he or she could recommend medication to help even out your mood.

Some signs that you should see your doctor include if you:

  • Are always irritable
  • Are constantly tired
  • Can’t concentrate
  • Can’t sleep

It’s important to seek help for stress that doesn’t lift on it’s own as depression can make you feel tired and isolated. You may be less likely to want to hit the gym or go to lunch with your friends or engage in other activities that help with stress. This in turn can start a cycle where your stress turns into depression and your depression increases your stress. Those who have had episodes of depression before are especially at risk.

If your stress is getting to a level you are unable to handle and nothing else is working, reach out to your primary care physician for help. If you are in the Los Angeles area and in search of a physical therapist, call (800) USC-CARE (800-872-2273) or visit http://keckmedicine.org/request-an-appointment/ to schedule an appointment.

By Anne Fritz