Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Can Stress Cause Physical Symptoms

Managing Stress In Daily Life

How Can Stress & Emotions Cause Real Physical Symptoms? – David Clarke, MD

Stress is not an illness itself, but it can cause serious illness if it isn’t addressed. It’s important to recognise the symptoms of stress early. Recognising the signs and symptoms of stress will help you figure out ways of coping and save you from adopting unhealthy coping methods, such as drinking or smoking.

There is little you can do to prevent stress, but there are many things you can do to manage stress more effectively, such as learning how to relax, taking regular exercise and adopting good time-management techniques.

Studies have found that mindfulness courses, where participants are taught simple meditations across a series of weeks, can also help to reduce stress and improve mood.

Build A Support Network

While relationships can sometimes be a source of prolonged stress, having supportive people in your life to lean on also acts as an important buffer against acute and chronic stress. Research has found that social support is critical for both physical and mental health.

Not only does support help people become more resilient, but it also helps protect people from developing mental disorders related to stress and trauma. For example, one study found that social support helped reduce the effects of stress on symptoms of depression.

Finding support doesn’t mean you need to have an enormous network. The American Psychological Association suggests that having a handful of friends and family members can provide the emotional support you need to better manage your stress.

Other Signs Of Stress

Now that we have discussed the physical symptoms of stress, we should also take a look at some of the other signs that may indicate that you are under stress. These include:

  • Emotional symptoms:feeling overwhelmed, anxious, irritable or moody, feeling hopeless or pessimistic, feeling disconnected from others, feeling like you cant cope, mood swings
  • Behavioural symptoms: overeating or undereating, overworking or procrastinating, using alcohol, cigarettes or drugs to cope, withdrawing from friends and activities, sleeping too much or too little
  • Cognitive symptoms: constant worrying, racing thoughts, difficulty concentrating, forgetfulness, negative thinking, indecisiveness

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to take steps to reduce your stress levels. There are many ways to do this, such as exercise, relaxation techniques, and counselling. If you are struggling to cope with stress on your own, it is important to seek help from a professional.

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Physical Effects Of Stress

Our bodies can react very strongly to our mental health, and for some people the physical symptoms may be the only sign of anxiety or stress. Patients will often say, “I don’t feel stressed,” and you very well may not be, but your body is feeling it. When our bodies develop physical signs as a result of our mental state, this is called somatisation.

Certainly some physical signs are more common than others in this scenario: in my GP surgery most often I would see headaches, stomach problems, irritable bowels and bladders, muscle aches, period disturbance and reduced libido. I have a young patient who wakes up five or six times a night to pass water, but it only happens during weeks when work is stressful.

Interestingly stress or anxiety can also worsen long-term conditions, for example, eczema or irritable bowel syndrome. Even in children, I see eczema worsening with the start of a new school, anxiety from exams or a stressful home life. Adult sufferers tend to expect a worsening of their skin at times of stress I have consultations with patients who will actively treat their condition in advance of stress to prevent the inevitable effects.

What Are Some Strategies For Stress Relief

BCBSM on Twitter: " Not only does chronic stress lead to mental anxiety ...

You cant avoid stress, but you can stop it from becoming overwhelming by practicing some daily strategies:

  • Exercise when you feel symptoms of stress coming on. Even a short walk can boost your mood.
  • At the end of each day, take a moment to think about what youve accomplished not what you didnt get done.
  • Set goals for your day, week and month. Narrowing your view will help you feel more in control of the moment and long-term tasks.
  • Consider talking to a therapist or your healthcare provider about your worries.

Read Also: What Effects Can Stress Have On The Body

When Should I Talk To A Doctor About Stress

You should seek medical attention if you feel overwhelmed, if you are using drugs or alcohol to cope, or if you have thoughts about hurting yourself. Your primary care provider can help by offering advice, prescribing medicine or referring you to a therapist.

A note from Cleveland Clinic

Its natural and normal to be stressed sometimes. But long-term stress can cause physical symptoms, emotional symptoms and unhealthy behaviors. Try relieving and managing stress using a few simple strategies. But if you feel overwhelmed, talk to your doctor.

The Link Between Stress And Illness

The critical factor associated with stress is its chronic effect over time. Chronic stressors include daily hassles, frustration of traffic jams, work overload, financial difficulties, marital arguments or family problems. There are, of course, many more things that can cause stress, but these are the stressors commonly encountered in daily life. The pent-up anger we hold inside ourselves toward any of these situations, or the guilt and resentment we hold toward others and ourselves, all produce the same effects on the hypothalamus. Instead of discharging this stress, however, we hold it inside where its effects become cumulative.

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Common Signs And Symptoms Of Stress

  • Frequent headaches, jaw clenching or pain
  • Gritting, grinding teeth
  • Tremors, trembling of lips, hands
  • Neck ache, back pain, muscle spasms
  • Light headedness, faintness, dizziness
  • Ringing, buzzing or popping sounds
  • Frequent blushing, sweating
  • Cold or sweaty hands, feet
  • Dry mouth, problems swallowing
  • Frequent colds, infections, herpes sores
  • Rashes, itching, hives, goose bumps
  • Unexplained or frequent allergy attacks
  • Heartburn, stomach pain, nausea
  • Constipation, diarrhea, loss of control
  • Difficulty breathing, frequent sighing
  • Sudden attacks of life threatening panic
  • Chest pain, palpitations, rapid pulse
  • Frequent urination
  • Diminished sexual desire or performance
  • Excess anxiety, worry, guilt, nervousness
  • Increased anger, frustration, hostility
  • Depression, frequent or wild mood swings
  • Increased or decreased appetite
  • Frequent crying spells or suicidal thoughts
  • Feelings of loneliness or worthlessness
  • Little interest in appearance, punctuality
  • Nervous habits, fidgeting, feet tapping
  • Increased frustration, irritability, edginess
  • Increased number of minor accidents
  • Obsessive or compulsive behavior
  • Reduced work efficiency or productivity
  • Lies or excuses to cover up poor work
  • Rapid or mumbled speech
  • Frequent use of over-the-counter drugs
  • Weight gain or loss without diet
  • Increased smoking, alcohol or drug use
  • Excessive gambling or impulse buying
  • Stress Effects On The Body

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    Stress affects all systems of the body including the musculoskeletal, respiratory, cardiovascular, endocrine, gastrointestinal, nervous, and reproductive systems.

    Stress effects on the body.

    Our bodies are well equipped to handle stress in small doses, but when that stress becomes long-term or chronic, it can have serious effects on your body.

    Musculoskeletal system

    When the body is stressed, muscles tense up. Muscle tension is almost a reflex reaction to stressthe bodys way of guarding against injury and pain.

    With sudden onset stress, the muscles tense up all at once, and then release their tension when the stress passes. causes the muscles in the body to be in a more or less constant state of guardedness. When muscles are taut and tense for long periods of time, this may trigger other reactions of the body and even promote stress-related disorders.

    For example, both tension-type headache and migraine headache are associated with chronic muscle tension in the area of the shoulders, neck and head. Musculoskeletal pain in the low back and upper extremities has also been linked to stress, especially job stress.

    Relaxation techniques and other stress-relieving activities and therapies have been shown to effectively reduce muscle tension, decrease the incidence of certain stress-related disorders, such as headache, and increase a sense of well-being. For those who develop chronic pain conditions, stress-relieving activities have been shown to improve mood and daily function.

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    What Is The 3 3 3 Rule For Anxiety

    The 3 3 3 rule is a simple way to calm anxiety. You can use this method in any stressful situation, but it works best when youre about to go into a high-pressure situation. The 3 3 3 rule is simple. Take a breath in for 3 seconds, hold it for 3 seconds, and then exhale for 3 seconds. Do it again. Do it again. Do it again. Do this for 4 cycles of 3 3 3, and youll feel calmer, more in control, and less stressed out..

    Causes Of Chronic Depression

    These are some of the potential causes of chronic depression, according to Dr. Daramus:

    • Chemical imbalances: Imbalances of certain brain chemicals, known as neurotransmitters, can cause chronic depression.
    • Genetics: Depression can be genetic, and you may be more likely to develop it if a biological relative has it. According to the American Psychiatric Association, a person has a 40% chance of developing depression if a first degree relative such as a parent, sibling, or child has it.
    • Trauma, stressors, or life events: Sometimes, depression is the way that someone responds to a traumatic event. It can also happen because of a life event or stressor, such as a bad breakup or a toxic workplace. Some people are more sensitive to these stressors than others.
    • Health conditions:Depression can co-occur along with certain medical conditions such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimers disease, and Parkinsons disease. These are chronic health conditions that may be worsened by chronic depression.
    • Medications: Certain prescription medications can affect the balance of chemicals in the brain and cause depression as a side effect. For instance, some people find that birth control pills or statins bring on depression.
    • Substances: Substances like alcohol, nicotine, and drugs can trigger or worsen depression.

    Also Check: Causes Of Depression Scholarly Articles

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    Q: How Does Stress Disrupt Sleep

    Dr. Sinha: When youre continually stressed, your body constantly pulses out stress hormones, which make it harder to fall asleep and impair the deepest stages of sleep. That can lead to hyperarousal insomniaa state where your mind and body are easily woken by sounds or by your own stressful thoughts. No longer can you sleep as soundly as a baby.

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    Can Anxiety Cause A Foggy Brain

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    Anxiety is one of the major causes of a foggy brain. People with risk factors for anxiety often experience symptoms of mental fog, such as difficulty concentrating, lack of motivation, and more.The symptoms of fog can be very debilitating, and sometimes people are pushed to the point of being unable to function.

    If you have any anxiety or anxiety-related disorder, you may have experienced some brain fog.

    This article will explain everything you need to know about anxiety, how it can cause brain fog, and possible ways to avoid it.

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    Return To Normal Gradually

    If youre struggling, its ok to slow down and limit the things that might be making your anxiety worse. Write a list of activities which might be triggering for you, starting with the easiest before working your way up to doing the activities which might feel most frightening.

    Over time, re-introduce these activities. Reward yourself as you do, but dont give yourself a hard time if some days are more difficult than others.

    Is It Stress Or Anxiety How To Tell The Difference

    Stress and anxiety are both emotional responses, but they differ slightly.

    People who struggle with anxiety have a tendency to ruminate or worry excessively about things, accompanied by physical sensations like butterflies in the stomach or heart palpitations, says Dr. Dossett.

    Usually these symptoms are not concerning and simply the result of an overactive stress response, Dossett adds. However, if they persist, it is important to see a physician to rule out more serious causes.

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    Recognize When You Need More Help

    If you are struggling to cope, or the symptoms of your stress or anxiety wont go away, it may be time to talk to a professional. Psychotherapy and medication are the two main treatments for anxiety, and many people benefit from a combination of the two.

    If you are in immediate distress or are thinking about hurting yourself, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline toll-free at 1-800-273-TALK . You also can text the Crisis Text Line or use the Lifeline Chat on the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website.

    If you or someone you know has a mental illness, is struggling emotionally, or has concerns about their mental health, there are ways to get help. Read more about getting help.

    Help Is Available For Stress

    Can Stress And Anxiety Cause Physical Pain? | Neuroscience Of The Mind Body Connection

    Stress is a part of life. What matters most is how you handle it. The best thing you can do to prevent stress overload and the health consequences that come with it is to know your stress symptoms.

    If you or a loved one is feeling overwhelmed by stress, talk to your doctor. Many symptoms of stress can also be signs of other health problems. Your doctor can evaluate your symptoms and rule out other conditions. If stress is to blame, your doctor can recommend a therapist or counselor to help you better handle your stress.

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    Identifying And Easing Anxiety

    It’s possible to become so fixated on the physical effects from your anxious state that you don’t even realize you were anxious to begin with, says Dr. Barsky. So, how do you know if anxiety is causing your symptoms? And if it is, how can you feel better? Dr. Barsky offers some tips to help you interrupt this cycle.

    Stop and assess. “The first step is to pause for a second and observe what’s going on with your body,” says Dr. Barsky. Think about what you are experiencing and whether it relates to a feeling of emotional upset or a reaction to something alarming or stressful. If your symptoms followed a stressful event or period of time, it’s possible these emotions triggered your symptoms. Also, be alert to signs that you are tensing your muscles, which can also indicate a stress reaction.

    Relax your body or work it. To relieve stress, try some deep breathing or relaxation exercises. There are numerous online resources and smartphone apps that can help guide you through relaxation techniques. Physical activity can also help you relieve tension. Try to squeeze in a daily walk or a run.

    Reassure yourself. If you believe your symptoms are being caused by anxiety, reassure yourself that what you are experiencing is not harmful or fatal. “They’re not serious, and they don’t signal an impending medical disaster,” says Dr. Barsky. The symptoms will pass when the anxiety eases.

    Finding Treatment For Health Anxiety

    Like other anxiety disorders, health anxiety can become debilitating. When your health worries begin to interfere with your life, its time to seek help from a mental health professional.

    At High Focus Centers, we understand that every patients needs are different. Our team of mental health experts uses evidence-based treatment strategies, like mindfulness-based cognitive therapy and cognitive defusion techniques, to help create a custom program to meet your needs. Additionally, our teletherapy services allow you to receive counseling and therapy from the comfort of your own home.

    If you or a family member is struggling with health anxiety, reach out to our team today. Were here to help you on your path to recovery.

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    What Anxiety Can Do To Your Body

    Anxiety may affect people differently. It has a varied effect on the mind and the body because of the release of certain hormones and other chemicals in the body.

    It increases a persons chances of suffering from other medical conditions, such as heart diseases, raised blood pressure, high cholesterolobesity, depression and diabetes. Anxiety may also cause sleep disturbances and poor work performance.

    Anxiety causes a rise in stress hormones and other responses along with a heightened inflammation affecting the whole body.

    Anxiety may cause the following symptoms:

    • Fear or uneasiness

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    Read About Body Sensations

    Stress: Types, Symptoms, Sources, and How to Reduce It â Brewminate

    Its normal to experience symptoms that seem off occasionally. You arent a machine after all. Our bodies have so many different functions its impossible to expect them to be perfect. Try to read more on body sensations and bodily functions to get used to the idea that not every new symptom equals a new problem. For example, you might experience stomach pain after eating food you arent used to or muscle pain after sleeping in an awkward position.

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    What Are Some Ways To Prevent Stress

    Many daily strategies can help you keep stress at bay:

    • Try relaxation activities, such as meditation, yoga, tai chi, breathing exercises and muscle relaxation. Programs are available online, in smartphone apps, and at many gyms and community centers.
    • Take good care of your body each day. Eating right, exercising and getting enough sleep help your body handle stress much better.
    • Stay positive and practice gratitude, acknowledging the good parts of your day or life.
    • Accept that you cant control everything. Find ways to let go of worry about situations you cannot change.
    • Learn to say no to additional responsibilities when you are too busy or stressed.
    • Stay connected with people who keep you calm, make you happy, provide emotional support and help you with practical things. A friend, family member or neighbor can become a good listener or share responsibilities so that stress doesnt become overwhelming.

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