In this guide, we will discuss whether stress is a disability and how to identify it.
Is stress a disability?
In today’s society, it seems normal to live under a state of stress. The rapidity in how everything moves make the person unable to take a moment to breathe and feel calm. Stress is a feeling of physical or emotional tension, which can come from any situation or thought that makes a person feel frustrated, furious or nervous. Stress is part of the life of human beings. In small episodes, stress can be positive because it helps avoid danger or motivates the person to fulfil their commitments, but when stress affects negatively it can cause consequences to the person’s health. Now, can stress be a disability? Everything will depend on how it impacts the health and well-being of the human being.
What is stress?
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines the phenomenon of stress as the physiological reactions that together prepare the body for action. From this same line, stress can be seen as an alarm that goes on and encourages the person to execute. Stress is considered healthy in low doses because it helps the person to be motivated and recognize the importance of the execution of certain activities. Stress helps the person to face difficult situations, making it aware that has to act.
When stress exerts a motivating and alarm function, we could say that we are facing normal or positive stress. This stress allows the person to be creative, to take initiative and respond efficiently to those situations that require it. Positive stress fills the person with energy, which favours their daily activities.
Positive stress has some benefits for the human being such as having better management of problems, it favours health since this positive form motivates the performance of daily activities, greater productivity stimulates creativity and emotional stability.
Stress positively has a very favourable impact on the lives of human beings, the problem lies when this stress interferes negatively in people. When the body experiences a stress overload, it affects the body and causes diseases and pathological abnormalities that prevent the development and functioning of the human body.
When stress negatively affects the person we are facing pathological stress. This occurs intensely for prolonged periods, causing physical and psychological problems. Some signs that stress can present are:
- Lack of energy or concentration
- Bad memory
- Diarrhoea or constipation
- Sexual problems
- Use of alcohol or drugs to relax
- Loss or gain of weight
- Trouble sleeping
When a person suffers from chronic stress, the person remains in a state of alertness and wakefulness without need. Over time, stress can cause the following health problems:
- High blood pressure
- Depression or anxiety
- Skin problems like acne
- Heart failure
- Menstrual problems
Why is stress a disability?
According to Deissy Herra Covarrubias, a researcher at the Center for Brain Research at the Universidad Veracruzana, stress depression in 2020 will be the leading cause of disability in the world. Stress is increasingly negatively affecting people, leading people to develop depression due to this.
To consider a physical or mental condition a disability, this has to have a substantial and long-term adverse and substantial effect on the ability of an individual to carry out their normal activities. That is, when stress interferes negatively in a person’s daily life, stress can be considered a disability.
Stress as disability arises because the person feels it has no control over things, does not know what to do and how to respond to what is asked. In spaces such as the workplace, it is normal for the person to develop stress to a point where stress is a disability. When the person at work cannot fulfil what is accomplished or does not obtain the expected result, it can generate stress, but if this response remains, it will reach the point where it will not be able to perform its functions due to the symptoms of stress.
The DDA or Disability Discrimination Act defines having a disability ‘if he has a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on his ability to carry out normal day to day activities’. And in its modification in 2005, it states that people with a mental health problem no longer need to show that their particular disability is “clinically recognized.” This is something very positive for the population in the United Kingdom since mental illnesses such as stress have to be recognized as serious as another type of mental illness. The sad thing about this is that there is still a lot of work to do in this field so that hundreds of institutions and companies around the world can understand that stress is a disability.
To understand stress as a disability is to recognize that, if the necessary measures are not taken, it will hurt people’s lives.
How to treat stress as a disability?
To treat stress as a disability the person must put his or her health in the hands of professionals in the area. The psychologist will help the person to discover that it generates stress in their life and will provide necessary strategies according to the situation. Also, the presence of a doctor is essential. The person who has a high level of stress may have suffered or suffered physical problems that intervene in their daily lives. According to the symptoms that the person manifests, it will have to resort to the specialist. Stress has a solution, the important thing is to recognize and act.
There are other measures that the person can take by itself to release the stress of its life. Actions such as meditating, playing sports, taking a break time are activities that will positively influence in life.
Another fundamental measure is awareness. It is something that each person should do from their position. Talking about stress as a disability makes the stigma that it brings disappears. Companies and organizations should investigate more on the subject and know their work team. Every company wants good results, but to achieve them, the health of its work team should not be put at risk. Each institution must be empathic, recognize the human side in everything it performs and give it the value that its staff deserves.
FAQs about stress as a disability
What do I do if my workplace does not recognize stress as a disability?
For a workplace to see stress as a disability it is important to keep track of this. In many places, they do not take into account only the opinion that the employee has in how it feels. Having a clinical role at hand that expresses that the symptoms you have are due to stress will cause the company to create it.
Is it bad that a person is always stressed?
Stress is bad when it negatively interferes with a person’s daily activities. When the person has stress and shows signs such as headaches, lack of appetite and poor memory, the stress may be affecting negatively its life.
What to do if my workplace does not give me a disability license due to stress?
If they don’t want to give you a disability license in your workplace, you can talk to them about other ways to help your stress levels, depending on whether the workplace is the stressor. There are times where stress occurs due to the high workload that the person has then it would be good to talk about how to work these aspects. If you feel that your measures are not consistent with what your health requires, then it would be time to reconsider looking for another place of work since health comes first.
Is it normal for me not to feel stress?
It is normal for a person to express that it does not feel stress, although something not very common since all human beings manifest stress at low levels, which is healthy. You may have felt stress, but it has exerted a positive role in your being.
I feel like I’m getting very stressed, what can I do?
If you feel that you are stressing what you can do is analyze what situation makes you feel stressed. Once the situation is identified, look for ways to lower stress levels. If you feel you cannot do it yourself, the psychologist is someone who can help you eliminate stress in your life.
Stress in a moderate way is healthy for people, but when it interferes negatively it can cause many problems, making it difficult for the person to be able to perform their daily activities normally. Stress is a disability and is on the rise. Raising awareness about how dangerous stress can be if it is prolonged will help people recognize if they suffer from this mental illness. It’s okay to talk about stress, it shouldn’t be something someone should be ashamed of.
- The Stress Solution: 4 steps to a calmer, happier, healthier you
- Managing Stress in the Workplace: How To Get Rid Of Stress At Work And Live A Longer Life
- How to Reduce Workplace Conflict and Stress: How Leaders and Their Employees Can Protect Their Sanity and Productivity From Tension and Turf Wars