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Stress Management Counseling

Dr. Martin counseling a young maleIn a fast-paced, everchanging world, stress is an inevitable part of daily life – we have work deadlines to meet, challenges in our relationships, financial obligations, and children to raise. Even when good things happen, the results can be stressful in a different way. Per the World Health Organization ”Stress can be defined as any type of change that causes physical, emotional or psychological strain”.  How we handle stress is due to a complex mix of genetic, environmental, and social factors. People who have experienced or witnessed trauma, violence, abuse, or war tend to be more vulnerable to stress and may have a stronger reaction. About 20% of Americans also suffer with chronic pain, which can be very stressful. 

Research shows that stress causes a chain reaction response within our body, where stress hormones and neurotransmitters flood our body with the energy and readiness to take action – the “fight or flight” reaction. This is normal and needed when we are faced with an attacker, see a tornado heading toward us, or sense impending danger. Our blood pressure increases, our body converts sugar into energy, and our heart races, preparing us to fight off that charging lion or alternatively, run for our life. This stress response process typically turns itself off quickly after the threat has passed and body functions return to normal.

The problem becomes when our brain stays in this stressed, hyper-alert state for the long-term, putting a strain on our body and emotions. To deal with this on-going “threat”, the brain produces an overabundance of stress hormones, such as cortisol, norepinephrine, and adrenaline, which start to affect the body adversely over time. Symptoms of stress can be mild to extreme and include the following:

  • Sleep disruption
  • Weight gain/loss
  • Headaches
  • Depression and/or anxiety
  • Brain fog – memory/focus issues
  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Muscle tension, pain, and spasms
  • Cardiovascular disease, including heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure

Learning how to manage stress is a very important skill to master for one’s emotional, spiritual, and physical well-being. OSC’s Clinical Psychologist, Dr. Andrew Martin, PsyD, offers stress management counseling services to help patients identify their specific stressors and to learn new responses and coping skills for stressful situations. Self-care, mindfulness, and meditation are also emphasized, as are other relaxation techniques.

To schedule an appointment for Stress Management Counseling, please call 757-596-1900 or click here to self-schedule. You do not have to be an Orthopaedic or Interventional Pain Management patient at OSC to schedule a consultation with Dr. Martin.

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