Prolonged stress can be highly detrimental to mental health and well-being. Stress induced depressive illness is increasingly prevalent, accounting for approximately a quarter of all referrals received at The Psychology Clinic.

People will often feel quite ashamed of suffering from stress induced depressive illness, believing that it is indicative of being weak or less resilient than their colleagues. On the contrary, research has shown that the individuals susceptible to suffering from stress-induced depressive illness are in fact those with a strong sense of responsibility and strong conscience, and those who are reliable, highly diligent and sensitive.

The onset of stress induced depressive illness has been described as a ‘fuse blowing’ in the limbic system, the system which regulates our mood. This in turn leads to a sudden reduction in the release of serotonin and noradrenaline, both crucial transmitters in the limbic system. The symptoms experienced by an individual suffering from stress induced depressive illness can be explained by these changes that occur in brain chemistry.

An individual suffering from stress induced depressive illness is likely to feel overwhelmed by the demands and challenges they face, low in motivation and mood, and is likely to have persistent feelings that they are unable to cope.

As part of treatment, it is important to identify the key stressors so that these can be moderated. It is then necessary to work cognitively (i.e. looking at the thoughts and beliefs that would appear to be fuelling and maintaining the low mood and anxiety) and behaviourally (i.e. working together to formulate manageable and appropriate activities in a clearly structured form to gradually reconstruct resilience).

Understanding the factors that contributed to the stress induced depressive illness is also important to prevent future relapse. These may be present situational factors or previous experiences that have led to a vulnerability to developing the depressive illness, or as is the case in the majority of cases, a combination of the two.

The prognosis for stress induced depressive illness is good and with the right intervention and support most people will make a full recovery. If you think that you may be suffering from stress induced depressive illness, it is important to see your GP as soon as possible. The Psychology Clinic will work with your GP or the referring Psychiatrist to ensure the treatment you receive is tailored and appropriate to your needs.

If you would like to arrange an appointment you can call the clinic on 01252 734 670 between 9.00am and 5.30pm Monday to Saturday. Alternatively, if you would like to speak to someone prior to booking an appointment, please call Irenie Phillips, Practice Secretary, on 07561 371 053 or e-mail Irenie on

“Having experienced a combination of depression and anxiety, I was referred to Dr Collins by my psychiatrist for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.

I was initially sceptical that CBT would be of help to me, but quickly realised that the therapy was exactly what I needed to help to fix my problems.

Dr Collins is approachable, trustworthy and very easy to work with and her therapy is very well structured and easy to comprehend.

Working with her and using her clearly defined pathways made it possible for us to target the source(s) of my problems and develop suitable coping strategies to enable me to control and negate the issues which led to my problems.

Now, a couple of months down the line, I am back to my normal self, with an optimistic outlook and untroubled by the irrational anxiety which was ruling my life. I can unreservedly recommend Dr Collins and her skills in CBT.”
Client suffering from stress induced depressive illness