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Coping with Stress During Infectious Disease Outbreaks

Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Know the Signs and Know When to Get Help

Washington, DC—Reports on the Ebola virus outbreak continue to dominate the news and daily conversations.  Feeling anxious and distress is normal even if you are at little or no risk of getting sick.  The federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has issued a guide for coping with stress during infectious disease outbreaks such as Ebola. The guidelines advise you to know the signs of stress in yourself and loved ones. Know how to relieve stress, and know when to get help.

Know the Signs of Stress

 Below are some of the common signs of stress and anxiety

  • Increase or decrease in energy and activity level
  • Increase in alcohol or tobacco use, or use of illegal drugs
  • Trouble relaxing or sleeping
  • Crying frequently
  • Feeling anxious, angry, guilty,  depressed, or overwhelmed by sadness
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Feeling heroic, euphoric or invulnerable
  • Not caring about anything

Know How to RElieve stress

The guide also outline ways to relieve stress

  • Keep things in perspective
  • Get the facts
  • Keep yourself healthy
  • Use practical ways to relax
  • Pay attention to your body, feelings and spirit

Know when to get help

 It is normal to feel stress.  However, if you show signs of stress for several days or weeks, get help by calling the Department of Behavioral Health 24/7 Access Helpline at 1-888-793-4357 and talk to a mental health clinician.