Effects of stress

Effect of Stress on the Body

February 21, 2022

Stress is everywhere, and we face it in our daily lives. Being under pressure is a normal part of life, and stress is not necessarily all bad; some stress is actually beneficial. Stress responses enable your body to adjust to new situations. It can help you be alert, motivated, take action, get results, and even be ready to avoid danger.

Stress is a situation that puts pressure on us or our reaction to being placed under pressure. It's when we have so much to think about, lists of to do that are not yet accomplished, or when we feel out of control over the things that are happening around us. Stress is the feeling we get when we find it difficult to cope with the things demanded from us.

However, too much stress can wear us down. When we are overwhelmed by stress, this can be a serious problem leading to mental and physical symptoms.

The very first step to controlling stress is to know the cause of it. Being self-aware that you are stressed and determining its causes will enable you to figure out its symptoms. At times, recognizing stress symptoms can be more complicated because some of us are so used to being stressed that we are incognizant until we are at the breaking point.


What Happen to Your Body When You Are Stressed

When you're stressed, your autonomic nervous system (ANS) releases cortisol and adrenaline that signals the "fight-or-flight response" to help the body face stressful events. The ANS controls heart rate, breathing, vision changes and more. So, when an individual has chronic stress, regular stimulation of this stress response causes high levels of the body's stress hormones that initiate wear and tear. This could affect your health in the longer term. 

What is stress and anxiety

Physical Symptoms of Stress

The first indications that you are overly stressed are presented in physical signs. This can include:

  • Headaches and dizziness
  • Stomach pain or digestive problems
  • Chest pain and rapid heartbeat
  • Fatigue
  • Tiredness
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Muscle tension
  • A weak immune system that may cause frequent colds and infections
  • Low energy

Psychological Symptoms of Stress

Chronic stress can further lead to emotional and mental symptoms, which may include the following:

  • Anxiety or irritability.
  • Depression.
  • Panic attacks.
  • Sadness.
  • Constant worrying
  • Racing thoughts
  • Forgetfulness and disorganization
  • Inability to focus
  • Poor judgment
  • Being pessimistic or seeing only the negative side

Behavioral Symptoms of Stress

Often, individuals who experience debilitating stress exhibits unhealthy behaviors, including:

  • Changes in appetite include overeating, under-eating, or developing an eating disorder.
  • Participating compulsively in sex, shopping or internet browsing.
  • Procrastinating
  • Increased use of alcohol, drugs, or cigarettes
  • Exhibiting more panicky behaviors, such as nail-biting, fidgeting, and pacing

Long-term Effect of Stress

Long-term stress can cause or exacerbate many serious health problems, including:

  • Skin and hair problems which may be presented as acne and hair loss
  • Cardiovascular diseases such as heart disease, abnormal heart rhythms, and heart attacks
  • Gastrointestinal issues, such as gastritis and irritable colon
  • Eating disorders
  • Menstrual problems
  • Sexual dysfunction that may cause premature ejaculation in men and diminished sexual desire in both men and women
  • Mental health problems like depression, anxiety and panic attacks

Stress will always be part of life; how you handle it is what matters most. Knowing your stress symptoms can help you prevent stress before it causes problematic effects in your body.

What To Do When Experiencing Stress

How to handle stress

If you or a loved one is experiencing extreme stress, call your doctor. Stress symptoms can also be signs of other health problems that your doctor can evaluate and rule out other possible illnesses. If stress is the root of the problem, you will be referred to a therapist or counselor to help manage your stress.

When you are struggling to cope, remember that help is available. You can reach out to your loved one, to a family member, or a friend. 

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