Stressed Out Over War Coverage

On television, on the radio and on the side of buildings, news about the war is everywhere. Technology has taken us onto the front lines and into the foxholes, and the result is not always healthy.

People with a history of anxiety or depression should watch for post-traumatic stress symptoms. Psychiatrists say insomnia and irritability are just some of the problems that could cause a panic attack. But they say they don't expect the war to stress as many viewers as Sept 11 did.

If 24-hour coverage of the war is stressing you out, some tips to unload the overload include take care of yourself, such as, eating right, exercising and getting enough rest. Do something positive, for example, give blood or take part in community meetings.

Be sociable and spend time with friends and loved ones, take time to do things you enjoy and be sure to talk to others about your concerns, that often relieves stress.

When all else fails turn off the television or radio. Experts say if war anxiety interferes with your daily life, you may need professional help. That can include counseling and sometimes medication. Talk to a doctor if your symptoms do not go away on their own. Extended Web Coverage

Six Myths About Stress

  • Myth 1: Stress is the same for everybody.
    Completely wrong. Stress is different for each of us. What is stressful for one person may or may not be stressful for another; each of us responds to stress in an entirely different way.

  • Myth 2: Stress is always bad for you.
    Stress is to the human condition what tension is to the violin string: too little and the music is dull and raspy; too much and the music is shrill or the string snaps. Stress can be the kiss of death or the spice of life. The issue, really, is how to manage it. Managed stress makes us productive and happy; mismanaged stress hurts and even kills us.

  • Myth 3: Stress is everywhere, so you can’t do anything about it.
    Not so. You can plan your life so that stress does not overwhelm you. Effective planning involves setting priorities and working on simple problems first, solving them, and then going on to more complex difficulties. When stress is mismanaged, it's difficult to prioritize. All your problems seem to be equal and stress seems to be everywhere.

  • Myth 4: The most popular techniques for reducing stress are the best ones.
    Again, not so. No universally effective stress reduction techniques exist. We are all different, our lives are different, our situations are different, and our reactions are different. Only a comprehensive program tailored to the individual works.

  • Myth 5: No symptoms, no stress.
    Absence of symptoms does not mean the absence of stress. In fact, camouflaging symptoms with medication may deprive you of the signals you need for reducing the strain on your physiological and psychological systems.

  • Myth 6: Only major symptoms of stress require attention.
    This myth assumes that the "minor" symptoms, such as headaches or stomach acid, may be safely ignored. Minor symptoms of stress are the early warnings that your life is getting out of hand and that you need to do a better job of managing stress.

    Source: (National Library of Medicine, and National Institute of Health Web site) contributed to this report.