What Are The Effects Of Chronic Stress – Reviewed by Timothy J. Legg, PhD, PsyD — By Ann Pietrangelo — Updated March 21, 2023

Stress triggers the body’s fight or flight response. Chronic stress can have negative health effects on your mood, immune system, digestion, and heart health.

What Are The Effects Of Chronic Stress

What Are The Effects Of Chronic Stress

You’re sitting in traffic, late for an important meeting, watching the minutes tick away. Your hypothalamus, your little control tower in your brain, decides to send the command: Release the stress hormones! These stress hormones are the same ones that trigger your body’s “fight or flight” response. Your heart is racing, your breathing is getting lighter, and your muscles are ready to work. This response is designed to protect your body from an emergency by preparing you to react quickly. But when your stress response flares up every day, it can put your health at risk.

Neurocognitive Effects Of Stress: A Metaparadigm Perspective

Stress is a natural physical and mental reaction to experience. Everyone experiences stress from time to time. Everything from everyday responsibilities like work and family to major life events like a new illness, war, or the death of a loved one can cause stress. . For immediate, short-term situations, stress can be beneficial to your health. It can help you deal with potential situations. Your body responds to stress by releasing hormones that increase your heart and breathing rate and prepare your muscles to respond.

However, if your stress response is constantly firing, and those stress levels remain far above what is necessary for survival, it can be detrimental to your health. Chronic stress can cause a variety of symptoms and affect your overall health. Symptoms of chronic stress include:

The central nervous system (CNS) is in charge of your “fight or flight” response. In your brain, the hypothalamus gets the ball rolling, telling your adrenal glands to release the hormones adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones keep your heart beating and sending blood to the areas that need it most, such as your muscles, heart and other major organs.

When the fear is gone, the hypothalamus should tell all the systems to return to normal. If the CNS does not recover, or if the stressor does not go away, the response will continue.

Ways Stress Affects Your Brain

Chronic stress is also a factor in behaviors such as overeating or undernutrition, excessive drinking or drug abuse, and social withdrawal.

Stress hormones affect your respiratory system and heart. During the stress response, you breathe faster in an effort to quickly distribute oxygenated blood around your body. If you already have breathing problems such as asthma or emphysema, stress can make it harder to breathe.

Under stress, your heart beats faster. Stress hormones cause your blood vessels to constrict and move more oxygen to your muscles so you have more energy to take action. But it also raises blood pressure.

What Are The Effects Of Chronic Stress

As a result, frequent or prolonged stress will cause your heart to work harder for longer periods of time. When blood pressure rises, so does the risk of stroke or heart attack.

The Health Benefits Of Reducing Stress

Under stress, your liver produces extra sugar (glucose) to give you energy. If you are under chronic stress, your body may not be able to keep up with this extra spike in glucose. Chronic stress can increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Fluctuating hormones, rapid breathing and heart rate can also disrupt your digestive system. You may develop heartburn or acid reflux due to increased stomach acid. Stress does not cause ulcers (usually a bacterium called H. pylori), but it can increase the risk of them and make existing ulcers work.

Stress can also affect the way food passes through your body, causing diarrhea or constipation. You may also experience nausea, vomiting, or stomach pain.

Your muscles tense up to protect themselves from injury when you are stressed. They try to release again when you relax, but if you are always nervous, your muscles may not be able to relax. Tight muscles cause headaches, back and shoulder pain, and body aches. Over time, this can create an unhealthy cycle where you stop exercising and turn to painkillers for relief.

Chronic And Acute Effects Of Stress On Energy Balance: Are There Appropriate Animal Models?

Stress wears out the body and mind. It is not uncommon to lose your desire when you are under constant stress. Although short-term stress can cause men to produce more of the hormone testosterone, this effect is not permanent.

If stress continues for a long period of time, testosterone levels in men can begin to decline. It can interfere with sperm production and cause erectile dysfunction or impotence. Chronic stress can increase the risk of infection of the male reproductive organs such as the prostate and testes.

For women, stress can affect the menstrual cycle. This can cause irregular, heavier, or more painful periods. Chronic stress can also worsen menopausal symptoms.

What Are The Effects Of Chronic Stress

Stress stimulates the immune system, which can be beneficial for immediate conditions. This awareness can help you prevent illness and heal wounds. But over time, stress hormones will weaken your immune system and reduce your body’s response to foreign invaders. People under chronic stress are more susceptible to viral illnesses such as the flu and colds, as well as other illnesses. Stress can also increase the time it takes for you to heal from an illness or injury.

How Stress Affects Brain And Body

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Our experts are constantly monitoring the health and wellness space, and we update our articles as new information becomes available. This chronic stress, if left untreated, can have a negative impact on your mental, emotional and physical health. Stress can be caused by many situations – from everyday stress to traumatic situations.

Chronic stress occurs when our body is subjected to stress to such an extent that it causes the nervous system to fail to exhibit a timely relaxation response. This means that our bodies and minds remain in a state of constant mental stress.

The average human being has the ability to deal with short term stress or severe stress but not long term stress. Chronic stress can cause serious damage to our overall health and take away our ability to function effectively every day.

How Chronic Stress Affects Your Body (infographic)

Chronic stress can be difficult to diagnose, but if you or someone you know shows these symptoms frequently, it is recommended that you see a mental health professional for more information.

Chronic stress can range from everyday stress to traumatic events. Job changes, workplace performance and loneliness can cause long-term stress. Our flight-or-fight response, which is responsible for helping us through dangerous and stressful situations, can make us feel tired and sick – both mentally and physically. .

Stress is one of the most common reasons people seek treatment for various conditions. Learning to manage stress in the early stages and making healthy lifestyle choices can help you cope with chronic or chronic stress.

What Are The Effects Of Chronic Stress

Not only will chronic stress affect our mental and emotional health, but it can also have a negative effect on our physical health. Stress can cause:

Stress On Womens Health

These are just the effects of chronic stress on our bodies and health. Chronic stress can also affect our ability to make smart decisions, focus on the task at hand, work performance and ability to function normally.

2. Medication: Antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications can help treat the symptoms of chronic stress. However, consult your doctor before taking any medicine.

It is important that you limit your work to what you can do at one time. Get your priorities straight and focus on them. Delegate your work, if necessary, but limit yourself to activities that reduce your stress.

If your body is not fully rested and your mind is not active, you will be more anxious than others. Make and stick to a sleep schedule. Try relaxation exercises before bed and try to get at least 6-8 hours of sleep each night.

Body Signals: Stress

Deep breathing or abdominal exercises can help you release tension in your muscles and can help you control your breathing. This is one of the best stress management techniques you can learn to manage stress.

Endorphins are our body’s natural pain killers and contribute to feelings of pleasure and happiness. When you are busy, go for a walk, dance, or do something that makes you happy. When endorphins are released, our stress levels decrease.

If any of these self-help techniques do not seem to be helping you, it is recommended that you see a medical professional for help. Taking small steps to reduce your stress can help you manage your stress in the future and reduce the risk of chronic stress.

What Are The Effects Of Chronic Stress

Stress is a part of our daily lives but knowing how to deal with and manage stress effectively can prevent you from developing physical and mental conditions. Chronic stress can have a significant impact on your health and quality of life. Learn to control yourself

Acute & Long Term Physical Symptoms Of Stress — How Stressed Are You?

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