Does Stress Affect Your Body – Medical Consequences

I have caught myself a few too many times in my short 26 years on this earth feeling as though I was becoming physically ill due to stress and anxiety.

Being the worrywart that I am, of COURSE, I began thinking “does stress affect your body?”. I was shocked and appalled at the effects stress can have on your body, especially coupled with an already existing anxiety disorder.

Please see my article on the difference between stress and anxiety to view some symptoms if you are unsure if what you are feeling is anxiety or stress.

Fixing Other People

Mental Health Problems

Chronic stress can cause a healthy and relatively normal person to have mental health problems. None of us are perfect and the majority of us are far from “normal”, but the simple fact that stress can cause such terrible mental health problems is terrifying to me.

The effects stress has had on my personal mental health has astounded me on more than one occasion. I have gone through a few periods in my life where I was experiencing chronic stress, and it caused me to do and say many things that made me feel as though I didn’t even know who I was anymore.

There are studies now showing that the long-term effects of stress can permanently damage the structure of the brain and cause you to be more susceptible to mental health disorders.

Some mental health problems associated with stress are:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Personality Disorders
  • PTSD
  • Panic Attacks

Physical Health Problems

Not only does it make us feel like we aren’t ourselves, but it can worsen and even cause dozens of health conditions, including, but not limited to the following:

  • Heart Disease
  • Asthma
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Headaches
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Circulatory problems including blood clots, or even strokes due to arteries and veins tightening in the body’s fight or flight response to stress

Side Effects On Your Body

  • Back, neck & shoulder pain
  • Chest pain
  • Fatigue
  • Low sex drive
  • Upset stomach
  • Insomnia
  • Slower healing
  • More susceptible to germs due to weakened immune system
  • Premature death

Side Effects On Your Mood

  • Overwhelmed
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Increased sadness
  • Restlessness
  • Lack of motivation

Side Effects On Your behavior

  • Increased drug or alcohol use
  • Lashing out at loved ones
  • Overeating
  • Undereating
  • Becoming less active
  • Isolating yourself from family/friends

If you have ever experienced any of these symptoms due to stress, I encourage you to be very mindful of your stress-relieving techniques. It is SO important for us to realize the importance of keeping our stress levels down, I know this from personal experience.

Stress can literally kill you.

Please never accept stress as something you just have to accept you will never be able to get rid of. If you need to seek professional help, please do not feel ashamed to do so. There is NOTHING wrong with seeking help. It truly can be too much for one person to handle alone, and no one expects you to!

I know from experience that stress can make you feel as though you are drowning and you can’t seem to find your way out. You can become so used to feeling stressed out that you wouldn’t know what to do with yourself if you didn’t have so many things to worry about.

Trust me, you owe it to yourself to allow yourself to relax and put those worries aside.

It is NOT normal to be constantly stressed and constantly worried all the time.

Maybe you are going through a rough patch right now, but please understand the importance of managing your stress and getting help if needed.

Please reach out if you have any questions or need someone to talk to!

Thanks for reading!

Kay

14 Comments

  • Cathy

    What a beautiful article! My doctor told me I need to avoid stress because of my conditions. However, we both knew that is an impossibility due to my ex and the kids, plus old debts and a poverty-level income. Nonetheless, I’ve been trying meditation, with dubious results. Also, I believe you recommended the anxiety essential oil in a different article. I’ve been trying it. I haven’t had to go out and test it, but it seems to be working here at home. Thank you for all your research and articles! They’re very encouraging. 🙂

    • Kay

      I completely understand, Cathy. Life can be so difficult sometimes it is a constant struggle to keep stress levels low. I just remain hopeful that one day my stresses will all feel worth it, I know that is wishful thinking! lol, Thank you for stopping by!

  • Karen

    You are so right about stress Kay. Another thing it does is age us. I know so many people under stress that look so much older than their age. I also know people that have come out from under stress that now look younger. Just crazy isn’t it?

  • Michael

    This article couldn’t come at a better time for me, only today I was feeling really stressed and anxious in a meeting at work, and I could feel how my heart rate went up as well as my blood pressure and body temperature.
    It is very important indeed to seek help from others, as well as practicing calming activities such as sports, hobbies, etc. I find it helpful to read spiritual books or listen on audiobooks.
    Thank for this important article!

  • Enrique

    “It is NOT normal to be constantly stressed and constantly worried all the time.”

    I can totally relate. I’ve constantly suffered from stress ever since I can remember. Many people underestimate it, but it is something that affects our lives in all aspects. The struggle is real.

    I’ve had to quit jobs because the stress was too much for me. I admire those people who manage it and not stress out. Not my case. It’s really hard for me to handle.

    There are times when have terrible headaches and my neck hurts constantly. My sleep quality has decreased as well. I’ve also had a hard time controlling my blood pressure even though I try to eat healthy and work out ugh.

    It’s good to know I’m not alone. Thanks for sharing.

    • Kay

      I am so sorry to hear about your struggles with stress. I hope you can adopt some stress management techniques that work for you and help you in your day to day life – I do have a few posts with some of my personal tips!

  • Isaiah

    Hi Kay,
    Great article! I was actually going through a terrible period of stress last year when I was working on a project for a specific department on my job, with an extremely difficult supervisor. I remember that I would have cases of muscle twitches or ‘nervous ticks’ that would come and go every few days, and it was evident to my coworkers and friends that I was under a lot of stress.

    I know it wasn’t the caffeine because I’ve been drinking coffee all of my life without any issues. And I’m an active person who’s in the gym and runs a few times during the week, and I drink water regularly. It seems that the condition disappeared gradually as that project came to an end and I moved onto a better situation at work. But to this day, I am still not sure if that was a stress-related condition or just coincidence. What do you think?

    Thanks!

    Isaiah

    • Kay

      It sounds like it was definitely a stress-related issue that triggered your symptoms! Especially because you are an active and healthy individual! I am so sorry to hear you had to go through that! Hopefully, it will never happen again but if it does you could implement some simple stress management techniques.

  • Harrison

    Hey there Kay, I enjoyed reading your story and your relationship with stress. Stress and anxiety can be a real issue and it has affected me in profound ways. Anxiety and depression have been two things I have been battling with quite intensively for the past three years. It is a slow battle, with many twist and turns.

    Anyways, I like how your article is very helpful to those who suffer from anxiety. I sometimes have to keep in mind my own struggles too.

    • Kay

      Hi, Harrison! You are correct in that you should always, ALWAYS, take the time out for yourself to acknowledge your needs and take care of your body!

  • Will Lawson

    Hi Kay,

    This article really hit home for me, I was working a job 80 hours a week shift work that really took a toll on me mentally and as soon as I quite it was like a HUGE weight had been lifted off my shoulders, I started eating better working out regularly and being closer to family and actually having the time to catch up with friends and talk instead of working all the time made a world of difference. Really makes you appreciated how you can be so rich by just having a quality of life and a sense of balance as well.

    Keep writing amazing content like this because it really does make a difference to those who take the time to read it.

    You will always have my support!

    All the best

    -Will 🙂 🙂

    • Kay

      That is so sweet of you to say, Will! I really appreciate your kind words and support. I can completely understand working entirely too much as I did it throughout going to college and it was difficult to keep the momentum. As I get older, I can’t even imagine having that type of energy to maintain that lifestyle now! I am glad to hear you have turned away from that lifestyle and are spending more time for yourself, friends, and family.

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