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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5838
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Do symptoms of depression/stress occur when a person is not

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Do symptoms of depression/stress occur when a person is not currently "stressing" over something?
I have been told several times by my doctor that symptoms I have been having are perhaps due to stress or anxiety, but I often do not feel stressed or anxious when they occur. Is this possible if stress, depression or general anxiety are implicated?

Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.

It is possible for you to feel stressed or anxious even if you are not consciously aware of it.

Developing a tolerance to feelings of stress or anxiety can come after you have had it for a while. It comes to the point that you no longer notice feeling this way because your body and mind are used to the higher level of intensity. In contrast, if you take a very anxious person and suddenly make them relax, they notice that they feel very tired and very unusual. The same if you take a relaxed person and make them anxious about something. They will react strongly because it is not something they are used to. But if you gradually build up the stress and anxiety, you may not notice it as much.

If your doctor is suggesting that you are stressed or anxious, then there needs to be some evidence of why you are feeling this way. Do you have a high level of stress in your life? Have you recently gone through a difficult time or some type of trauma? You may feel that you worked through something but in fact you are still feeling the effects of the incident.

You could also be depressed. Depression can range from a reaction to something that happened in our lives to a biological cause. Anxiety can accompany depression and can even push the depression into the background so it becomes the main symptom.

The best way to find out if you are experiencing these symptoms and why you may have them is to have an evaluation done by a therapist. The therapist is trained to screen out any diagnosis that is not compatible with your symptoms. They will also screen you for any possible anxiety, depression or even stress disorder. To find a therapist, ask your doctor for a referral. Or search on line at

I hope this has helped you,

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I have gone through a very stressful time, but it was about a year ago now. My doctor suggested stress or depression because no other cause for my symptoms has presented itself. But could that still be an issue after all this time?

Yes, especially if you did not address it when it happened or you still have left over issues regarding what happened. Think of PTSD and how it sometimes affects people for years, especially if they do not receive proper treatment. Also, sometimes stressful events can trigger past traumas or other seemingly harmless events that happened and you may not be aware of it. The best option is to be screened to be sure. A doctor may be somewhat familiar with mental health, but a therapist is trained to screen you and look for any possible diagnosis.


Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Do such issues usually develop immediately after the event, or can they ever come up months afterward?

It can be both. I know that is confusing, but each person is different. It depends very much on the person, their past experiences, and their ability to cope with what happens to them. Some people are better at handling an event and others have not developed the coping mechanisms to deal with what happens to them so they handle their reactions differently.


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