Common ailments


I am worried that my wife might be suffering from stress. She works long hours in a demanding customer services environment where she has to deal with angry and upset customers every day. My wife has always been very calm and carefree but has recently become very withdrawn, short-tempered and irritable at home. This is now affecting our children and family life. What can I do to help her?

Stress is the word used to describe the feelings we might experience when the demands made on us are greater than our ability to cope with them. It comes as no surprise to me that your wife’s job could be causing her considerable stress, particularly if she is working under pressure and dealing with tense situations on a daily basis.

Many of life’s everyday demands can cause stress and this can affect how you feel, behave and how your body copes. The symptoms you describe are common and other symptoms can include problems sleeping, loss of concentration, lack of appetite and headaches.

Stress in itself is not an illness but, left unaddressed, it can lead to serious illness. Recognising the early signs of stress can help prevent it getting worse. Try talking to your wife about how she is feeling and encourage her to think more positively about the things that are troubling her. If your wife’s job is the underlying cause of her stress then it might be worth her discussing any problems with her line manager to see whether there are any modifications that can be made to her job, or she might wish to consider a new line of work altogether. In the meantime, anything you can do to make her feel more relaxed away from work would be a great help.

I suggest you urge your wife to visit her GP who can offer some guidance and make a formal diagnosis. Her GP should also be able to advise on good relaxation and deep-breathing techniques to help alleviate tension and the effects of stress.

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