Stress-Related Disorders

Stress-Related Disorder Treatment in Baltimore


Stress-related disorders are becoming increasingly recognized by our society as technology helps us all learn and communicate about these types of mental health disorders. Anxiety, depression, and PTSD are examples of these disorders that can be triggered or caused by high stress levels. These conditions have the power to negatively influence an individual’s quality of life.

Dr. Neal Ranen has seen firsthand how detrimental mental health conditions can be to someone’s quality of life; even everyday tasks become difficult to accomplish.  He explores these disorders in more detail below.

What is a stress-related disorder?

Stress-induced illnesses are a collection of psychological dilemmas that can be triggered by highly stressed situations. Those suffering from these may present symptoms such as all-consuming worry, feeling agitated, despondency, irritability, and even changes in dietary habits or sleeping patterns.

What are the symptoms?

Stress can elicit a wide variety of symptoms, contingent on the type of disorder. Common features include:

  • Anxiety: lingering feelings of anxiety, fear, and apprehension that are disproportionate to the actual situation
  • Depression: feeling disheartened, despondent, and uninterested in life that persists over a long duration
  • Insomnia or changes in sleep patterns: struggling to drift off or remain asleep, and oversleeping
  • Irritability or agitation: feeling easily frustrated, restless, or on edge
  • Physical symptoms: headaches, muscle tension, fatigue, and digestive problems
  • Changes in eating habits: overeating or loss of appetite
  • Avoidant behavior: withdrawing from social situations, activities, and responsibilities
  • Re-experiencing traumatic events: intrusive memories, flashbacks, and nightmares in people with PTSD


Not all those who experience stress will develop a disorder.  If the severity and intensity of the symptoms become enough to affect your daily routine, seek the guidance of a mental health professional.

What are the causes?

While there are many things that can contribute to developing a stress-related condition, some of the most common causes include:

  • Traumatic events: Traumatic events, such as accidents, natural disasters, abuse (physical or sexual), and the death of a loved one can all trigger the development of PTSD and other anxiety disorders.
  • Chronic stress: Exposure to pressures of life, like job anxiety, financial worries, relationship troubles and health issues can drastically increase the possibility of developing ailments caused by stress.
  • Genetics: According to studies, individuals with a family history of mental health issues are more likely to be affected by stress-related conditions.
  • Brain chemistry: Although studies have found varying results, it appears that when levels of crucial neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine are unbalanced it can have a detrimental effect on one’s mental health and greatly increase their risk of developing anxiety-related disorders. Overactivity of certain brain regions and compounds, such as the amygdala, sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) and cortisol levels can play a role.
  • Life transitions: During life-altering experiences such as divorce, retirement, childbirth, or mourning, there is a heightened risk of stress-induced illnesses.

When dealing with stress-related disorders, it is important to remember that there can be a multitude of causes, and every person handles them in their own unique way.  If you are having some challenges managing your stress reach out to Dr. Ranen and see if he can help you manage them.

How is it diagnosed?

In order to accurately diagnose a stress-related disorder, certain steps must be followed by an experienced psychiatrist.  These steps include examining the various aspects of your life to gain a holistic assessment including the following.

  • Medical history: After a comprehensive examination of the individual’s medical and psychiatric history, including present indications, former psychological treatments, and any related bodily illnesses that may be occurring, a professional opinion can begin to come into focus.
  • Clinical assessment: After considering the individual’s signs and symptoms, a mental health professional will administer a comprehensive mental status exam to determine if they are dealing with any stress-related ailments like anxiety, depression, or PTSD.
  • Specific Diagnoses: A psychiatrist will formulate a specific diagnostic impression based on all the information gathered that will then guide treatment.

As your life experiences and symptoms fluctuate, so may your diagnosis. Should you sense that the balance of your mental health is tipping, seek out a medical professional and make your treatment a priority.

What are the types?

There are several different types of stress-related disorders, including:

  • Adjustment disorders: Adjustment disorder is a common effect of significant stress in a person’s life, such as the death of someone close, a divorce or other family stress, severe job stress, or any sense of feeling overwhelmed by life circumstances and responsibilities. The reaction on one hand is understandable because the stress is real, but on the other hand the emotional reaction may be so all-consuming it can be constantly burdensome or disproportionate. Feeling anxious, demoralized or irritable, having irregular sleep patterns, and changes in diet are all possible symptoms.

  • Anxiety disorders: Individuals suffering from an anxiety disorder may experience a plethora of psychological problems, such as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic attacks, social phobia, or other phobias. All these conditions are marked by intense nervousness or fear.
  • Depression: This psychological disorder is characterized by a persistent feeling of sadness, pessimism, and apathy that can last for weeks or months.
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): PTSD is typically distinguished by the long-term effects one feels after being exposed to a traumatic event.

It is essential to understand that alongside other psychiatric issues, like bipolar disorder or obsessive-compulsive disorder, stress-related health complications can exist as well.  Understanding exactly what is happening is the first step to being able to properly address and treat your condition.  Dr. Ranen can help you with understanding what is happening and how to manage it.

What are the treatments?

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by stress, there are diverse treatments available to help manage its effects. The best approach could be to combine them or utilizing each separately and they include:

  • Psychotherapy: Psychotherapeutic treatments, including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), interpersonal therapy (IPT), exposure therapy, and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), have been shown to effectively reduce or eliminate the symptoms of stress-related disorders.
  • Medications: Ranen can help you manage your stress disorder symptoms by judiciously prescribing antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, and other psychiatric medication.
  • Lifestyle changes: By modifying your diet, exercising more regularly, and creating better sleep routines, you can considerably reduce stress levels while also boosting mental well-being.
  • Complementary and alternative treatments: People suffering from stress-related disorders frequently find solace through complementary and alternative treatments such as meditation, other relaxation exercises/strategies, mindfulness, or yoga.

Support groups: Finding a supportive group of peers can help you experience the power of community and connect with those who have gone through similar difficulties.

Why choose Dr. Neal Ranen for stress-related disorder treatment in Baltimore?

Dr. Neal Ranen has a wealth of experience using evidence-based treatments including individual therapy and the judicious use of targeted medication for a wide range of mental health conditions, including stress-related disorders.  He has helped many people with his practice and he can help you too.