Here’s some further insight into their relationship as we look into dual diagnosis – stress and mental health. Found to maintain a complicated and highly influential relationship, dual diagnosis treatment will be necessary to recover.

Manageable bouts of stress is good for us. It motivates us, keeps us on our toes and maintains our engagement. But once those bouts turn into lasting or re-occurring symptoms of stress, they can be unmanageable.

Unmanageable stress can lead to many problems. Placing the body and brain in a permanent state of fight, within the fight or flight response, physical and mental exhaustion are likely. Both can be difficult to work through, making it impossible to maintain strong mental health and wellbeing.

People who suffer from acute stress are found to lead disrupted lifestyles, along with being at a greater risk of developing mental health issues. Known as a dual diagnosis if issues arise and aggravate, co-occurring disorders can be life limiting and highly demanding to live with.

For support with acute stress, poor mental health, or both, reach out here at Nova Recovery.


How does stress affect someone’s mental health and wellbeing?

Although stress is a very natural and normal feeling to experience, it can become overcoming if unmanaged. Stress is reactive to threats, risks, and uncertainties. It can be caused by both positive and negative situations, such as a house move to a financial crisis.

Stress can be managed through a range of stress management techniques and coping strategies. It’s reactivity, in the average case, will reduce and revert to the flight state of mind, post-threat. Yet where stress continues, and becomes episodic, acute, unmanageable and/or reoccurring, it can retain the mind in the fight response.

The fight response can be very difficult to experience for the long-term. It can put significant pressure on the body and mind, increase blood pressure, cause headaches, boost anxious energies, and affect sleep. It ultimately affects mental health and wellbeing, by causing side effects and by disrupting usual functionality. Whilst experiencing high or acute stress, the body also produces excess hormones, to prepare for threat. If production is consistent, a build-up of cortisol and adrenaline can form, which is abnormal to experience at an ongoing rate. Many side effects stem from this build-up, causing physical and psychological symptoms.

For someone with pre-existing mental health issues, added levels of stress can be damaging. Vulnerabilities will already exist, impacting emotional responses and outlooks. Added stress can cloud judgment, peak reactivity, and trigger mental health symptoms. For someone with good mental health, stress will still disrupt how the central nervous system works and communicates. Changes to emotional responses and messaging can happen, which if reoccurring, can induce depressive or anxious states.

This effect can cause co-occurring disorders, of a stress disorder and mental illness. Here’s some further insight into their relationship as we explore dual diagnosis – stress and mental health symptoms and recovery programmes.


How severe can their relationship be?

The relationship between stress and mental health can become highly severe. Averagely, stress will cause short and brief changes to outlooks, feelings, and internal responses. Yet long-term stress can cause significant, long-lasting changes, also resulting in chronic episodes of anxiety, panic, and depression.

Stress is heavily linked to mental health problems through a two-way relationship. Poor mental health and instability is found to cause and increase chronic stress. As both conditions attack the brain and its messaging through the central nervous system, their effects are similar, possible to induce a dual diagnosis.

A dual diagnosis is a highly demanding mix of co-occurring disorders. Dual disorders will be prone to relapse and will be connected by viciously aggravating one another. Difficult to balance out and control, many additional issues can stem from a dual diagnosis, reducing quality of life, wellbeing, and mental health.


Signs and symptoms of dual diagnosis

To recognise the signs and symptoms of dual diagnosis, with a focus on chronic stress and poor mental health, symptoms of each condition will display. For example, the physical and psychological symptoms of stress will be present, such as insomnia, high anxiety, and exhaustion. Yet the signs and symptoms of each will also be entwined, tying their relationship.

Common signs and symptoms of dual diagnosis include:

–        Where stress is a result of other mental health issues

–        Where poor mental health and wellbeing are caused by stress

–        Acute, episodic, reoccurring, and unmanageable stress

–        Ongoing symptoms of mental illness

–        Challenges balancing both stress and mental wellbeing

–        Ineffectiveness of coping strategies

–        A wide range of physical and psychological side effects

–        The use of unhealthy coping strategies to work through stress and/or poor mental health

–        The inability to lead a present, balanced lifestyle

If you’re feeling both stressed and mentally vulnerable, dual diagnosis treatment will be effective. Necessary to recover, the cycle of behaviours and responses must be broken through simultaneous treatment programmes.


Dual diagnosis treatment at Nova Recovery

At Nova Recovery, we’re a private recovery hospital, specialising in mental health and behavioural problems. We offer dual diagnosis treatment to treat the cause, symptoms, and relationships between co-occurring disorders. As substance abuse is also common through dual diagnosis, we offer a range of drug and alcohol detox, withdrawal, and rehabilitation services.

If you’re recognising the signs of acute stress, poor mental health, or a dual diagnosis, reaching out for our support will be recommended. Through an admissions process, we can understand your struggles, symptoms, and circumstances. We can devise a plan of action, to treat all symptoms and reduce their relapsing nature.

Stress and mental health go hand in hand, both impacting one another. It’s important to work through a range of stress management, stress treatments and mental health treatments to recover from each disorder. With treatment programmes in place, you can recover with peace of mind here at Nova Recovery.

For more information on dual diagnosis – Stress and mental health, from their relationship to recovery programmes, reach out.

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John Gillen - Author - Last updated: September 8, 2023

John has travelled extensively around the world, culminating in 19 years’ experience looking at different models. He is the European pioneer of NAD+ (Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide) treatment to Europe in 2010; and recently back from the USA bringing state of the art Virtual Reality Relapse Prevention and stress reduction therapy. His passion extends to other metabolic disturbances and neurodegenerative diseases. The journey continues. In recent times, John has travelled to Russia to study and research into a new therapy photobiomudulation or systemic laser therapy working with NAD+ scientists and the very best of the medical professionals in the UK and the USA, together with Nadcell, Bionad Hospitals own select Doctors, nurses, dieticians and therapists. Johns’ passion continues to endeavour to bring to the UK and Europe new developments with NAD+ Therapy in preventive and restorative medicine and Wellness. In 2017 John Gillen was made a visiting Professor at the John Naisbitt university in Belgrade Serbia.