Disstress (medicine)

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Woman representing the state of distress
Charity that takes the stress out of an overworked mother.

In medicine, distress is an aversive state in which a person cannot fully adapt to stress factors and the resulting stress and shows poorly adapted behavior. A symptom can be the presence of various phenomena, such as inappropriate social interaction (e.g., aggression, passivity, or withdrawal).

Disstress is the opposite of eustress , a positive stress that motivates people.

Risk factors

Stress can arise from influences such as work, school, peers or employees, family and death. Other influences vary according to age.

People in constant distress are more likely to get sick, both mentally and physically. There is a clear link between psychological distress and major causes of death in all areas of distress.

Higher education has been linked to reductions in mental distress in both men and women, and these effects persist throughout the aging process, not just immediately after graduation. However, this relationship decreases with increasing age. The main mechanism by which higher education plays a role in reducing stress in men is related to labor market resources rather than social resources as is the case with women.

In the clinic, distress is a patient-reported outcome that has a major impact on the patient's quality of life. Most commonly, a Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) questionnaire is used to assess patient distress. Depending on the score from the HADS questionnaire, the doctor then recommends making lifestyle changes or a further assessment for mental disorders such as depression .


People often find ways to deal with distress, in both negative and positive ways. Examples of positive practices include listening to music, calming exercises, coloring in, exercising, and similar healthy distractions. Negative pathways can include consuming drugs such as alcohol and expressing anger, which are likely to lead to complicated social interactions and thus increased stress.

See also

Individual evidence

  1. ^ National Research Council, Institute for Laboratory Animal Research, Committee on Pain and Distress in Laboratory Animals: Recognition and Alleviation of Pain and Distress in Laboratory Animals . National Academies Press, Washington, DC 1992, ISBN 978-0-309-07525-1 , Introduction , doi : 10.17226 / 1542 , PMID 25144086 ( nap.edu ).
  2. ^ Association between psychological distress and mortality: individual participant pooled analysis of 10 prospective cohort studies . In: BMJ . July 31, 2012.
  3. Annica Brännlund: Higher education and psychological distress: A 27-year prospective cohort study in Sweden . In: Scandinavian Journal of Public Health . September.
  4. CH Hansen, J. Walker, P. Thekkumpurath, A. Kleiboer, C. Beale, A. Sawhney, G. Murray, M. Sharpe: Screening medical patients for distress and depression: does measurement in the clinic prior to the consultation overestimate distress measured at home? . In: Psychological Medicine . 43, No. 10, October 2013, pp. 2121-8. doi : 10.1017 / S0033291712002930 . PMID 23339843 .