Identifying the signs of stress can be tricky than meets the eye. Modern people are so accustomed to stressful situations that they often do not realize how detrimental they are to them until they reach a critical limit. The insidiousness of chronic stress is that this invisible enemy gradually eats away our vitality, weakens the immune system, and prevents us from feeling the joy of being.
Physicians identify 7 physiological symptoms of stress
Mainstream medicine associates stress with a long list of physiological symptoms. Let us dwell on the most important ones that cannot be ignored.
When we have a headache, we usually think of it as a reaction to the weather or overwork. More medically advanced people blame poor blood vessels or high blood pressure. However, they forget that vasospasm and blood pressure surges can also be triggered by stress.
The mechanism of pain that does not go away for a long time can be stressful in nature. The brain, as it were, “remembers” that it is necessary to send pain impulses to a specific place. The stress hormone cortisol is to blame for this, which prevents distraction and “forget” about pain. If a person is calm, he relaxes, experiences pleasant emotions and soreness recedes, but in a state of prolonged stress this does not happen.
If a cold is frequent in the house, perhaps it is not the bad climate that is to blame, but prolonged stress. Excessive emotional stress damages our immune system and makes us more susceptible to infections. In one medical study, subjects were divided into high or low stress groups. Over six months, people with increased stress levels had 70% more respiratory infections. This topic is covered in detail in the book “Stress and ARI” by N. Graham, R. Douglas.
Stress affects the nature of sleep depending on the individual characteristics of the organism. Someone suffers from insomnia, others, on the contrary, are overcome by excessive sleepiness. Due to shallow sleep, there is no feeling of complete rest on waking. The most typical situation is early awakening, when a person cannot fall asleep because of disturbing thoughts about the situation that worries him. You can learn more about the causes of insomnia and how to deal with it here
Changing eating habits.
Stress also affects appetite in different ways. Some people have emotional hunger, they literally “seize” problems. Nervous overload, negative mood causes a passionate desire to eat “something tasty”: fast food, sweets, exotic dishes. As a result, extra pounds are not long in coming. There is also the opposite case, when in a state of stress a person loses his appetite, and he dramatically loses weight.
Against the background of nervous tension, the digestive system suffers one of the first. The feeling of heaviness and pain in the abdomen, heartburn, and stool disorders testify to the trouble. The most common diagnoses that doctors associate with uncontrollable stress: gastritis, irritable bowel syndrome, peptic ulcer disease.
Many people experience decreased sexual desire during stressful periods. This is especially true of the beautiful half of humanity. The study “Chronic stress and sexual function in women” by American psychologists L. Hamilton and S. Meston draws a link between high levels of stress and a decrease in sexual arousal.
Other signs of stress
In addition to physiological changes, doctors identify emotional symptoms of stress. Nervousness, irritability, anxiety for no apparent reason, bouts of melancholy and apathy, guilt and dissatisfaction with oneself – this is just the tip of the “stressful” iceberg. Our physiology and psyche are inextricably linked, it is not for nothing that people say that “all diseases are from the nerves.”
A person exhausted by unpleasant symptoms changes their behavior. When emotional resources are depleted, this inevitably leads to increased conflict with others, distraction at work, and the emergence of bad habits. Stress also captures the intellectual area, causing loss of concentration, forgetfulness, and difficulty making responsible decisions. Types of stress
How is acute stress different?
This condition is fairly easy to recognize. It is a response to phenomena of exceptional strength, for example: a natural disaster, a threat to life, an accident, criminal behavior, the loss of a loved one. Responses to an acute stressful situation depend on the individual vulnerability of a person and his ability to adapt.
These are the main signs of acute stress:
- chest pain;
- accelerated heartbeat;
- aggressive behavior;
- inappropriate reactions (stupor, panic, etc.);
- disorientation in space and time.
What is the difference between acute and chronic stress?
The difference between these types of stress is fundamental. If the first one has pronounced symptoms, the second is erased, which can be confused with other diseases. Acute stress goes away quickly, while chronic stress can last indefinitely.