Stress poisons existence, both literally and figuratively: it not only makes life uncomfortable, it makes you sick. According to Dr. Herbert Benson of Harvard Mind / Body Medical Institute, about 80% of medical consultations are stress-related in one way or another. As are 60% to 80% of work-related injuries, according to the American Institute of Stress. (source)
“Stress can affect every aspect of your life, including our emotions, behaviors, thinking and physical health. No part of the body is immune … Chronic stress can cause or aggravate important health problems. »WebMD
For many of us, we have to deal with many stressors throughout the day. Stress can be a good thing, it can push us to get things done and can serve as a powerful protection. Aside from that, too much stress on a daily basis can pose a serious threat to mental and physical health.
Obviously, the body feels a high level of stress. When the brain is in distress, it releases adrenaline and cortisol (the stress hormone) into the bloodstream. Under normal circumstances – and in the presence of a real threat – this hormonal response allows us to “limit functions that would be non-essential or detrimental in a combat or flight situation.”
In other words, we can proactively deal with the threat in such circumstances.
Nevertheless, overexposure to adrenaline and cortisol can affect almost the entire body. According to the Mayo Clinic, overexposure to cortisol increases the risk of many health problems, including anxiety, depression, digestive disorders, headaches, heart disease, sleep disorders, weight gain, and problems with memory and concentration.
Here are 8 signs that could indicate that someone is too stressed without knowing it:
Colds and repeated infections:
Stress causes overwork of our circulatory system (because of a high heart rate). This physiological effect, in combination with an increase in blood pressure, can weaken the immune system. Of course, this diminishes the ability of the immune system to seek out and neutralize bacteria that cause disease. Headaches:
The most common type of headache, tension type headaches, can cause mild, moderate or intense pain in your head, neck and behind your eyes. Stress can both create and exacerbate other types of headaches, including migraines.
Medical experts have discovered a complex connection between the brain and the digestive system, which helps explain why stress can cause a number of digestive problems. Chronic stress can also worsen conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Chest pain or palpitations
Stress creates anxiety, and anxiety creates stress. This frustrating mental cycle can cause chest tightness and / or pain. In addition, chest pains are often frightening experiences – and this reaction further aggravates the stress present.
Chronic stress is itself a risk factor for heart disease and heart attack. Recent studies have also associated stress with blood clotting mechanisms, which can lead to serious health problems.
Loss of libido
For men and women, desire can be hindered by stress. This is because stress disrupts the chemicals in the brain that are responsible for stimulating the libido. Chronic stress can lead to ovulation problems for women and reduce sperm count and fertility in men.
Although stress reactions are more often associated with weight gain, a minority of individuals experience weight fluctuations and even weight loss. That said, high levels of cortisol can increase appetite and facilitate fat accumulation in the belly.
They are among the symptoms most frequently cited by those with high levels of stress. Nausea, indigestion, cramps and pain are all potentially stomach-related problems resulting from a stress response.
Stress increases the pressure and tension levels in the body, making it more prone to fatigue, which can also manifest as mental or physical exhaustion.
Acute or chronic stress?
When the symptoms of stress reactions are so intense as to temporarily interfere with normal occupations, it is called acute stress. This problem can occur after a traumatic event (the death of a loved one, an accident, a financial loss, etc.), or in the expectation of a very destabilizing event. By definition, acute discomfort is temporary, but it can be repeated at a certain frequency.
Chronic stress, on the other hand, is a permanent state with several causes:
An anxious personality that makes them particularly sensitive to stressors;
– a difficult and persistent situation that the person can not change or flee: a precarious job, insufficient income for financial responsibilities, harassment of a superior, the responsibility of a sick parent, a difficult child, conflicting or unstable relationship, etc .;
– several stressful situations that overlap over time.
People suffering from chronic stress are not always aware of it, or think that there is nothing to do. They can also suffer punctual attacks of acute stress.
As we know, what is considered “stressful” varies enormously from one person to another. That said, some situations stress most people; this would be the case, in particular, of pregnancy, the education of children, the difficulty of reconciling work and family, retirement and social isolation. (source)