Symptoms of Stress

Stress affects us all. Depending entirely on how you handle it, the effects of stress could either be good or bad.

When handled positively, stress is beneficial to us and helps keep us alert, active, and more energetic.

When handled in a negative manner, however, it turns into distress, which can have a harmful effect on us physically, mentally, and emotionally. It can strain our relationships with everyone around us and deteriorate our physical and mental condition.

The symptoms of stress on the body can manifest physically, physiologically, and psychologically and are categorized into short term and long term effects.

Short Term Effects Of Stress

The “fight or flight” response often associated with a stressful situation usually leads to functional adjustments occurring in the body, which tend to persist until the threat or cause of stress disappears. These include:

  • Heart rate increases in order to supply more blood quickly.
  • Blood supply is diverted from less vital organs to more vital organs.
  • Blood pressure tends to increase in order to supply blood efficiently.
  • The need for more oxygen causes an increase in respiratory rate.
  • More glucose is formed from non carbohydrate substances.
  • To get even more glucose, breakdown of glycogen stores in liver and muscle follows.

These physical responses are linked to the symptoms of stress such as:

  • Palpitations
  • Chest pains
  • Cold, clammy skin
  • Dry mouth
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Peptic Ulcer aggravation
  • Increase in blood glucose levels
  • Headache, neck pain and back-ache
  • Depletion of energy
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Memory disturbances
  • Lack of sleep
  • Decrease in sexual drive
  • Appetite loss
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Anger outbursts

Long Term Effects Of Stress

If the stress factor remains or is persistent, the body will keep secreting stress hormones which, combined with functional adjustments associated with stress, can cause irreversible physiological damages of the brain as well as organ damage. Some symptoms of stress in the long term include:

  • Chronic headaches
  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety disorder
  • Alcohol or drug abuse
  • Memory disturbances
  • Heart attack or stroke due to increased blood pressure levels, sugar and cholesterol
  • Weight gain or weight loss
  • Worsening of allergies including asthma
  • Irritable Bowel
  • Decrease in sexual drive
  • Lack of sleep

You do not have to succumb to the short term or long term effects of stress. Once you understand how you deal with stress in your life, you can then make the lifestyle changes necessary to decrease your stress level, or learn helpful stress reduction techniques.

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