Stress can wreak havoc on not just your mental health, but it can also hurt your physical health as well, from heart disease to menstrual problems to the actual shrinking of the brain. Learning about these stress related problems can help you lead a healthier lifestyle.
The Main Stress Related Problems
Here are 7 of the most important and dangerous stress related problems that can occur when you’re living an unbalanced life:
1. Mental Illness
It’s easy to see how stress can cause depression and anxiety. One survey found that people who have high-stress jobs have an 80% risk of developing depression.
Stress and depression are a self-feeding circle, as stress causes depression with symptoms of worrying and feeling unable to cope; this leads to more stress, leading to a deeper depression.
Chronic stress affects memory loss and concentration. The more stress you experience, the worse these conditions can get.
Stress is also linked to exacerbating Alzheimer’s disease, causing the brain to form lesions more quickly.
If you want to learn more about the effects of depression on brain health, watch this video:
Many people who are over-stressed tend to turn to food by over-eating causing obesity. Stress releases the hormone cortisol which adds fat around the waist. Abdominal fat is a higher risk factor than other fatty deposits in different parts of the body.
Obesity, in general, leads to more health problems, which can strain and limit people’s mobility and lifestyle. On the flip side, though, high levels of stress can cause a person to develop anorexia and bulimia.
3. Heart Disease
Here is a sampling of anxiety and stress related problems and illnesses that involve your heart:
- High blood pressure;
- High Cholesterol;
- Abnormal Heart Rhythms;
- Heart Attacks;
One study showed that feeling anxious and stressed leads to a 27% higher risk of a heart attack, the same as smoking five cigarettes a day.
Men on average are more affected by high levels of stress causing heart problems. It is believed that women cope better with stress, therefore, have a less risk of developing heart illnesses.
Sudden reactions to rising stress can increase the rate of blood flow to the heart, ironically at the same time; blood flow can be restricted when arteries constrict during these reactions.
Constant stress can suppress the body’s immune system. It is thought that stressed-out people have a lower white blood cell count, which makes it harder for the body to fight off illnesses.
Even a simple virus like colds can last longer in a stressed individual. It can also make virus symptoms worse.
Lowered immunity is shown to cause inflammation, and worsen conditions like skin rash, arthritis, and eczema.
5. Sleeping / Insomnia
Can’t sleep? Or having trouble staying asleep? Stress is the most likely culprit. This is another one of those vicious circles. You can’t sleep because you’re too stressed, not being able to sleep stresses you out, and so on.
Lack of sleep then has its consequences like memory loss, concentration problems, and moodiness. Chronic stress and lack of sleep can cause short-term memory loss, especially verbal memory.
The lack of sleep caused by anxiety is comparable to drinking lots of coffee, with anxiety acting as a stimulant.
6. Stressed Gut
The digestive system can be quite touchy, and even moderate stress can cause problems for some. IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), Crohn’s Disease and chronic heartburn are made worse by stress.
A common misconception that stresses causes ulcers is untrue; stress does worsen ulcers though. Diarrhea, constipation, cramping and bloating are all symptoms that stress can cause to the gastrointestinal system.
Addictions is another one of those stress related problems that can go around in a circle.
As people experience stress, they may try to cope by smoking, drinking alcohol, eating too much food or using drugs. Obviously, all of these activities can cause health problems.
But as a person stresses over their addiction, they turn to the addiction to help with the stress.
It’s hard to narrow down all the stress related problems, although it’s fair to say stress causes many problems in all parts of the body.
Of course, stress and anxiety hurt your mental health, but physical problems are just as common.
Many stress related problems lead to a vicious circle, with stress causing the problem and the problem causing stress. These types of stress cycles are the hardest to fix and maintain; most need a complete life change to break the cycle.
Also, stress can be a cause of obesity. Then obesity causes other illnesses and diseases, such as heart problems, sleeping issues, and much more. Finding an outlet to relieve your stress can help clear up many of the stress related problems.
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