If you’ve ever had trouble sleeping, eating a lot of unhealthy food or not eating hardly at all, fatigue, irregular or missed periods, or exacerbated skin problems such as acne, psoriasis and rosacea, you’ve likely endured stress. Most of Americans are dealing with moderate to high stress, and 44% have reported their stress levels increasing over the past 5 years. The Insider notes that with chronic stress, your body is flooded with adrenaline, which increases your heart rate and blood pressure, along with all those unwanted side effects mentioned above. The American Psychological Association states that stress effects various system, organs and tissues all over the body:
Musculoskeletal system: Muscles tense when the body is stressed, and typically releases when the stress has passed. If you experience chronic stress, your muscles likely remain tensed, which can lead you into headaches, migraines, decreased recovery time after an injury, and more.
Respiratory system: Stress can cause you to breathe harder, and, if you have asthma, this could lead to an asthma attack. Hyperventilation and panic attacks are possible if you have extreme stress.
Cardiovascular system: Minor stress-related incidents can increase heart rate and produce stronger contractions of the heart muscle, but long-term stress can increase the risk for hypertension, heart attack, or stroke.
Endocrine system: When under stress, the body sends stress signals from the hypothalamus causes the adrenal cortex to produce cortisol, which gives you that energy to run from danger. Blood sugar levels can also rise, and if your body is able to re-absorb it you’re fine, but if you are susceptible to developing Type 2 diabetes, this extra blood sugar could lead to the development of it.
Gastrointestinal system: You may experience “butterflies” in your stomach and/or nausea, even vomiting if you’re excessively stressed. Eating too much or too little may also be caused by stress, which could lead to weight gain or inappropriate weight loss. Stress also impacts the digestive system, as it can impact how nutrients move through your body; this can lead to diarrhea or constipation.
Nervous system: When your body is stressed, it can go into “fight or flight” mode. If you experience chronic stress, this can put a massive drain on your body.
Reproductive system: For men, chronic stress can affect testosterone production, sperm production and maturation, and even erectile dysfunction. For women, period cycles, premenstrual symptoms, menopause and sexual desire can all be impacted by chronic stress.
Engaging in relaxation activities such as mediation, yoga, walking, listening to calming music, and more can help you to relieve some of these symptoms and prevent you from developing further health issues.
New Vista Behavioral Health is home to several world-renowned, California state-licensed mental health and substance abuse treatment programs. If you need help, call us today at 888-316-3665 for a consultation.