Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

beginning of content

Causes of stress

Man in stress who needs help.

What is stress?

Stress is healthy response to challenging or dangerous situations.

Circumstances that are the causes of stress are known as stressors and affect people in different ways.

A situation that causes one person to become over-stressed or distressed may not be a problem to someone else.

Stress can be caused by events or situations that happen to us or by our own thoughts, attitudes or expectations.

The causes of stress include:

Major life events

Negative events (like a death in the family or divorce) and even positive events (like getting married or having a child) can be stressful. Research has shown that some events seem to cause more stress than others.

Routine stress

Routine stress is related to the demands of everyday life and normal responsibilities like work and parenting. Financial issues is one of the leading cause of stress for Australians.

Other causes include:

  • family issues
  • personal health issues
  • trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle
  • concern for the health of others
  • issues in the workplace.

Traumatic stress

Life-threatening or violent situations can trigger an acute stress reaction, but most people recover over time. In a minority of people this can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder.

According to a recent survey, financial issues were the leading cause of stress for Australians, affecting more than half the population.

Not sure what to do next?

If you or someone you know are finding it difficult to manage mental health issues, try healthdirect’s symptom checker and get advice on when to seek professional help.

The Symptom Checker guides you to the next appropriate healthcare steps, whether it’s self care, talking to a health professional, going to a hospital or calling triple zero (000).

Last reviewed: August 2015

Recommended links

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Found 2472 results

Post traumatic stress disorder following birth - COPE

Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following birth can develop if you have personally experienced or witnessed a traumatic birth event.

Read more on COPE - Centre of Perinatal Excellence website

Post traumatic stress disorder (PSTD) experience | myVMC

Tom experienced nightmares and seizures from post traumatic stress disorder after the Vietnam war. He tells the story of his pain and road to recovery.

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder | Black Dog Institute

Current facts and information about post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), its causes, treatments, how and where to seek help

Read more on Black Dog Institute website

A day in the life post traumatic stress disorder | Trauma | ReachOut Australia

This audio story follows rural high school student, Sam, as he struggles with symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Read more on ReachOut.com website

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder | Peach Tree

Read more on Peach Tree Perinatal Wellness website

Acute stress and post-traumatic stress disorders | Trauma | ReachOut Australia

Learn to look for the signs of acute stress and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Know how you can manage ASD to reduce your stress level.

Read more on ReachOut.com website

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) | myVMC

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a psychological disease

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Post-traumatic stress disorder (sometimes called PTSD) is a form of anxiety disorder. Some people develop this condition after they have experienced a...

Read more on SANE Australia website

Posttraumatic stress disorder | At Ease for Veterans

This page provides you with information about posttraumatic stress disorder and what you can do about it and where where you can get help.

Read more on Department of Veterans' Affairs website

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a particular set of reactions that can develop in people who have been through a traumatic event

Read more on beyondblue website

Check your symptoms Find a health service

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice and information you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo
Feedback