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Areas of specialty

Stress (Click to expand)

Balance is important in life. Too much stress can lead to imbalance and can have a significant impact on our physical and psychological health.

What is stress?
Stress is our body's psychological and physiological response to a positive or negative stressor which can be real or perceived. We all have stress in our life and each person adapts to these situations differently. Many factors (external and internal) in a person's life must be taken into consideration and have an impact on how the person will manage a stressful situation.

Stressor
Alarm response - fight or flight
Resistance-adaptation stage to the stressor
Exhaustion stage – this stage appears when stressors are present for a long period of time and are very intense.

Here are some areas of life where we encounter stress:

The family: the couple marriage, children's education, parent's health, etc.;
Work and school: promotion, disappointment, unemployment, overwork, relationship problems, exams, retirement, etc.;
Living conditions: home, transportation, pollution, eating habits, etc.;
Health: illness, for you or a family member.;
Stages of life: pregnancy, menopause, marriage, divorce, retirement, etc.

The following factors also have an influence to what degree stress will affect a person, and what impact it will have.

Duration. Long-term or short-term stress will affect a person differently.
Whether the stress is positive or negative. What may seem positive at first may be in fact negative stress. For example, a promotion in another city means the entire family has to move.
The degree of severity.
Its predictability. For some people, an unforeseeable event requires greater effort to adapt and results in more intense stress. The stress level may be less intense if they are able to prepare ahead of time.

Warning signs that stress is affecting you physically and psychologically:


The impact of long-term stress:

Physical Psychological

Anxiety (Click to expand)

Anxiety is a psychological and physiological state. In everyday life, we all get anxious at times. When we are faced with a stressful situation or when we must do something we are not totally comfortable with, for example, giving a presentation in front of a group of people, we may feel anxious in the days before the presentation. This stressful situation causes us to become anxious. However, when anxiety prevents a person from functioning normally in his or her day-to-day life, it can be considered an anxiety disorder.

The intensity and reasoning behind the anxiety determines whether the reaction is normal or abnormal.

During a period of intense anxiety, the person may experience a loss of control. Anxious people are often unduly concerned with future events.

The emotional effects of anxiety include:

Depression (Click to expand)

Depression is an imbalance or negative change of your mood. Generally, it involves feelings of sadness, a lack of energy both physical and emotional, loss of interest in activities you used to enjoy. Depression is one of the most common and most treatable, emotional problems.

Depression has many symptoms. Some of them are easily identifiable while others may be harder to detect. Depression and its symptoms may be experienced differently from one person to another. Learning to recognize your symptoms can make it easier to prevent and/or "manage" depression.

Here are a few symptoms of depression, in addition to those mentioned above: Depression has many possible causes. The most common causes of depression include going through a difficult life event; living in an environment where people are very negative, such as family members or our social environment; our personality type; physical illness, chronic pain, medication, biochemical or genetic factors; alcohol or drug abuse. Depression usually involves more than one factor.

Abuse (Click to expand)

Psychological abuse does not have a universal definition. It can affect women as well as children, men and the elderly. Psychological violence which is also called mental cruelty exists when there is a relationship between two people. We can identify psychological abuse when, within this relationship, there is an abuse of power and control over the other person.

Here are some types of behaviour which are considered to be psychological abuse. Source: Health Canada "Psychological Abuse" (PDF Document)

Grief (Click to expand)

Grieving is the process that follows the death of a loved one and/or major change in our life, for which there is no turning back. We may grieve for a loved one, a child, a husband, a parent, etc. A marriage, a pet or a job may also be grieved.

Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross was a pioneer in the area of grieving. She separated the grieving process into five stages. Other authors added stages to those of Dr Kubler-Ross. It is important to remember that each person grieves differently. However, it has been noticed that some of the stages of grief are the same for most people who are grieving. These stages do not necessarily happen in the same order for each person, and not everyone goes through every stage. These stages enable us to determine where we are in the grieving process and help us to understand what is going on inside of us.

The five stages of grief, according to Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross: Dr Elisabeth Kubler-Ross is a good reference for learning more about grief.

Jean Monbourquette also wrote several works on the subject.

"Dying is nothing to fear. It can be the most wonderful experience of your life. It all depends on how you have lived."

Visit the Web site dedicated to her work: Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Burnout (Click to expand)

A burnout is caused by physical and psychological exhaustion often due to long-term stress. The warning signs of a burnout are: A weakening commitment to work, constant fatigue, the feeling that one has no control over his or her work, work overload, poor communication and working atmosphere, etc. It is important to notice these signs which can lead to depression. A lot of literature is available on the subject. What to do if you are in this situation: