Stress treatment and counselling

Most of us can experience feelings of stress from time-to-time and in modern day life, this can be deemed quite normal. However, it is important to recognise when ‘acceptable’ amounts of stress are increasing and starting to cause you physical and emotional exhaustion that may require stress treatment. The pressures of modern day life can cause even the strongest of us to ‘burn out’ and this can have adverse effects on your life.

Types of treatment for stress

Stress counselling


Some people are treated for stress as outpatients, which means they come to Priory for hourly stress counselling sessions with their consultant, psychologist or therapist.

Inpatient stress treatment


You may require a more structured stress treatment approach which can include staying as an inpatient at one of the Priory hospitals for the duration of your treatment where you take part in the psychological group programme as well as regular sessions with a consultant.

You could also be suffering from depression or drug or alcohol misuse, so you may need a short course of medication.

Causes of stress

Managing stress can become part of everyday life and causes include:

  • Working in a high stress environment
  • Financial worries
  • Family responsibilities
  • Being over-competitive
  • Having high expectations of self

Read information on stress management techniques, stress symptoms and stress counselling options below. If you or someone you know may be suffering from stress, it is important to seek help and support as soon as possible.

The type and length of treatment for stress is dependent on the individual's circumstances and the severity of the condition.

You may be offered therapy for your stress to help you change your attitudes and behaviour and to help you develop a lifestyle and strategies for coping better with stress. You should try to avoid stressful people and situations, and in some circumstances you may even need a period away from work.

What are the symptoms of stress?

Stress can manifest itself in different ways; however the most common symptoms of stress are:

  • Insomnia leading to tiredness
  • Irritability or outbursts of anger
  • Low mood
  • Consuming too much caffeine or alcohol
  • Low productivity accompanied by feelings of low achievement, regular absence and a higher sickness rate
  • Being accident-prone
  • Being cynical and defensive
  • Finding fault
  • Headaches, backache, indigestion, weight loss or gain, shortness of breath, regular or lingering colds

How stress affects your body

The effects of stress can vary greatly between individuals:

The drone zone

With little to challenge you, you'll be sluggish, bored and uncommitted to your work and everyday responsibilities

Improved performance

With some stress, your motivation, performance and job satisfaction will improve, encouraging you to engage with people and activities

The 'C' zone

In this ideal state, you'll be full of energy, totally focused and engaged in your work. You'll be cool, calm and collected

The fatigue zone

If you allow stress to build up unchecked, your performance will begin to decline sharply. You may become irritable and overuse caffeine and alcohol, causing insomnia (difficulty sleeping) and aggression. Without rest, tiredness can lead to exhaustion

The exhaustion zone

Your performance will continue to decline and you'll become more aggressive and resentful. Often, you will use alcohol or medication to tackle your insomnia, as well as caffeine and sugar to get through the day

The ill-health zone

At this stage, stress levels are now causing your physical health to suffer, leading to mental health problems as well as high blood pressure, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and migraines

The panic zone

You will now believe that things are out of control. You'll feel disorganised and nervous, and may even experience panic attacks. Any extra pressure can now lead to breakdown and burnout

How to deal with stress

To deal with stress, achieving a work-life balance is crucial. In the first instance try to negotiate with your employer what is realistically doable in your job, in terms of volume of work, time and what is expected of you. Try to talk to loved ones at home about the pressures you are feeling, taking time out to switch off from stress, be it financial or work-related.

Treatment of stress at Priory

If you feel unable to speak to your organisation or family there are ways to get private and confidential support. The Priory Group has a nationwide network of sites providing 24 hour support 7 days a week. Our expert consultants, psychologists and therapists can provide support outside of normal working hours in a tailored package of support that suits your individual needs. All stress treatment is provided in the strictest privacy. 

For further details on how Priory can provide you with further assistance regarding Stress treatment and counselling, please call 0800 840 3219. For professionals looking to make a referral, please click here