Stressful Times?

18 Dec 2012

Consultant Psychiatrist


Modern life is sometimes thought of as particularly stressful, compared with life in previous times. These days seem to have more pressure, more demands, and more complexity to contend with. Modern life is hectic, while perhaps previous times were at a slower pace, and easier to cope with.

A recent post gives an alternative idea: “I would argue that life is less stressful, but that we’re more stressed”.

This is a reminder that the term “stress” is commonly used to describe both cause and effect. The relationship between the two is complex, and each are influenced by a range of variables.

There is no doubt that life can be stressful. Stressful life experience is inevitable for all of us. Stress often stimulates growth and accomplishment. Sometimes however it causes distress, and illness.

But more stressed people may not mean simply there is more problems in modern life.

It could be that people now seem less resilient and more sensitive. This apparent increase in vulnerability may have a variety of explanations, including aspects of modern culture. It may be there has been a change in attitudes and expectations, rather than in ability to cope.

So, if it is easier to be stressed these days, it does not mean that life is more stressful. It can mean that being stressed is now more acceptable. Perhaps in days gone by attitudes and expectations were different.

For more on Stress and atopic eczema:



Dr Christopher Bridgett (DrB) is a specialist in Adult General Psychiatry who has also worked in Dermatology since being first introduced to Psychodermatology by Arthur Rook in 1971. Together with dermatologists Richard Staughton (London) and Peter Norén (Uppsala) he co-authored Atopic Skin Disease - A Manual for Practitioners, which sets out a behavioural approach for the successful management of atopic eczema. Now retired from both NHS and private practice, he continues to teach and advise at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital, London and runs an online community for both practitioners and patients interested in The Combined Approach to the treatment of atopic eczema:

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