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What are some signs of emotional distress?

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Quick Answer

Signs of emotional distress include sleep disturbances that vary from more or less sleep than usual, dramatic fluctuations in weight or eating patterns such as a lack of appetite or preoccupation with food, and difficulty controlling anger or emotions that lead to verbal or physical outbursts, according to WebMD. Emotional distress can also produce unexplained physical symptoms such as chronic pain, constipation, headaches, diarrhea and a rumbling stomach.

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People who are emotionally distressed often become forgetful, tired or obsessive, explains WebMD. Patients may have a compulsion to wash hands frequently, worry that something bad is going to happen or develop a pattern of rituals that include touching objects or checking and rechecking locks.

A lack of energy or chronic fatigue is also a sign of emotional distress, according to WebMD. People who feel too tired to engage in normal, daily routines or activities they used to enjoy, even when physical checkups do not reveal any conditions or ailments, may be struggling with emotional distress.

Memory problems are also a sign of emotional distress, explains WebMD. Reactions to stress or traumatic events can cause people to become forgetful, tired or obsessive. Some patients suffering from emotional distress also begin to shun social activities, experience severe mood swings and restrain from sexual activity.

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