What causes young people to over-stress?

Stress affects everybody in a different way. What causes one person to become over-stressed may not have the same effect on someone else.

Some of the things that cause young people to become over-stressed include:

  • exams
  • problems at school or work
  • sexual, physical or emotional abuse
  • relationships
  • new responsibilities
  • moving to a new place
  • a traumatic event – such as the death of a loved one
  • new or chronic illness or disability
  • peer pressure, being bullied
  • unrealistic expectations from themselves, family, friends or culture
  • taking on too many activities
  • having too high expectations.

Sometimes young people can manage the stress caused by these situations. At other times, several situations can come together at once and may cause too much stress. Or, one situation alone could feel overwhelming.

Signs of stress

Too much stress can impact negatively on young people’s health both emotionally and physically.

Signs for parents to look out for are:

  • anger or irritability
  • being anxious
  • avoiding other people
  • crying
  • moodiness – feeling frustrated with things that normally don’t bother them
  • low self-esteem or lack of confidence
  • anxiety attacks
  • depression or sadness.

Physical signs to look out for are:

  • upset stomach, diarrhoea or indigestion
  • headache
  • backache
  • inability to sleep
  • eating too much or too little
  • raised heart-rate
  • smoking.
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