Stress: Causes, Symptoms, Effects and Treatment

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Stress: causes, symptoms, effects and treatment

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Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Types of Stress
  • Causes of Stress
  • Effects of Stress
  • Effects of Stress on Your Health:
    Emotional problems
    Life changes
    Traumatic events
    Dealing with stress


Stress is something normal thing in your lives. if you are not able to handle on your stress and it becomes long-term, it can seriously mix with your job, family life, and health. Most of half of Americans say they fight with friends and loved ones because of stress, and more than 70% say they experience physical and emotional symptoms from it.

Types of Stress

These are some examples type of stress. Some of them could be short-term or they won’t last longer than your workday, and they may benefit your health in some ways. If your life feels the way every day of the week, you may be experiencing long-term or chronic stress. These types different of stress can be dangerous to your health if you don’t work to overcome it or cope with its effects. When you have threatened feeling, your nervous system responds by releasing a flood of stress hormones, which rouse the body for emergency action. Your heart pounds faster, muscles tighten, blood pressure rises, breath quickens, and your senses become sharper. These are physical changes that increase your strength and stamina, speed your reaction time.

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Stress is your body’s way of responding to any kind of demand or threat. Especially you sense fear danger—whether it’s real or imagined—the body's defenses high gear in a rapid, automatic process known as the “fight-or-flight” reaction or the "stress response."

Causes of Stress

Your nervous system is not very stronger at distinguishing between emotional and physical threats. If you’re overwhelmed with an argument with a friend, a work deadline, your body can react just as strongly as if you’re facing a true life-or-death situation. Your emergency stress system is activated, the easier it becomes to trigger and the harder it becomes to shut off.

As many of us do in today’s demanding world—your body may be in a heightened state of stress most of the time. It can lead to serious health problems. Chronic stress disrupts nearly every system in your body. It can block your immune system, upset your digestive and reproductive systems, it could increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, and speed up the aging process. It can even wire the brain, leaving you more vulnerable to anxiety, depression, and other mental health problems.

Effects of Stress

The stress response is the body’s way of protecting you. When working properly, it helps you stay focused, energetic, and alert. In emergency situations, stress can save your life—giving you extra strength to defend yourself, for example, or spurring you to slam on the brakes to avoid an accident.

Stress can also help you rise to meet challenges. It’s what keeps you on your toes during a presentation at work, sharpens your concentration when you’re attempting the game-winning free throw, or drives you to study for an exam when you'd rather be watching TV. But beyond a certain point, stress stops being helpful and starts causing major damage to your health, your mood, your productivity, your relationships, and your quality of life.

Big issues could include money troubles, job issues, relationship conflicts, and major life changes, such as the loss of a loved one. The smallest issues are the longest daily commutes and rushing in the mornings, can also add up over time. Learning how to recognize sources of stress in your life is the first step in managing them.

The most dangerous thing about stress is how easily it can creep up on you. You get used to it. It starts to feel familiar — even normal. You don’t notice how much it’s affecting you, even as it takes a heavy toll. That’s why it’s important to be aware of the common warning signs and symptoms of stress overload.

The situations and pressures that because stress is known as stressors. We usually think of stressors as being negative, such as an exhausting work schedule or a rocky relationship. However, anything that puts high demands on you can be stressful. This includes positive events such as getting married, buying a house, going to college, or receiving a promotion.

Of course, not all stress is caused by external factors. Stress can also be internal or self-generated, when you worry excessively about something that may or may not happen, or have irrational, pessimistic thoughts about life.

Everyone has different type of stress. Work stress is the main one top of the list, according to surveys. Forty percent of U.S. workers admit to experiencing office stress, and one-quarter say work is the biggest source of stress in their lives.

Causes of work stress include:

  1. Being unhappy in your job.
  2. Having a heavy workload or too much responsibility.
  3. Working long hours.
  4. Having poor management, unclear expectations of your work, or no say in the decision-making process.
  5. Working under dangerous conditions.
  6. Being insecure about your chance for advancement or risk of termination.
  7. Having to give speeches in front of colleagues.
  8. Facing discrimination or harassment at work, especially if your company isn't supportive.

Life stresses can also have a big impact. Examples of life stresses are:

  1. The death of a loved one
  2. Divorce.
  3. Loss of a job.
  4. Increase in financial obligations.
  5. Getting married.
  6. Moving to a new home.
  7. Chronic illness or injury.
  8. Emotional problems (depression, anxiety, anger, grief, guilt, low self-esteem).
  9. Taking care of an elderly or sick family member.
  10. Traumatic event, such as a natural disaster, theft, rape, or violence against you or a loved one.

Sometimes the stress comes from inside, rather than outside. You can stress yourself out just by worrying about things.

These are the factors can lead to stress:

  1. Fear and uncertainty. When you regularly hear about the threat of terrorist attacks, global warming, and toxic chemicals on the news, it can cause you to feel stressed, especially because you feel like you have no control over those events. And even though disasters are typically very rare events, their vivid coverage in the media may make them seem as if they are more likely to occur than they really are. Fears can also hit closer to home, such as being worried that you won't finish a project at work or won't have enough money to pay your bills this month.
  2. Attitudes and perceptions. How you view the world or a situation can determine whether it causes stress. For example, if your television set is stolen and you take the attitude, "It's OK, my insurance company will pay for a new one," you'll be far less stressed than if you think, "My TV is gone and I'll never get it back! What if the thieves come back to my house to steal again?"
  3. Similarly, people who feel like they're doing a good job at work will be less stressed out by a big upcoming project than those who worry that they are incompetent.
  4. Unrealistic expectations. No one is perfect. If you expect to do everything right all the time, you're destined to feel stressed when things don't go as expected.
  5. Change. Any major life change can be stressful -- even a happy event like a wedding or a job promotion. More unpleasant events, such as a divorce, major financial setback, or death in the family can be significant sources of stress.
  6. Your stress level will differ based on your personality and how you respond to situations. Some people let everything roll off their back. To them, work stresses and life stresses are just minor bumps in the road. Others literally worry themselves sick.

Effects of Stress on Your Health:

When someone is in a stressful situation, your body launches a physical response. Your nervous system springs into action, releasing hormones that prepare you to either fight or take off. It's called the "fight or flight" response, and it's why, when you're in a stressful situation, you may notice that your heartbeat speeds up, your breathing gets faster, your muscles tense, and you start to sweat. This kind of stress is short-term and temporary (acute stress), and your body usually recovers quickly from it.

But if your stress system stays activated over a long period of time (chronic stress), it can lead to or aggravate more serious health problems. The constant rush of stress hormones can put a lot of wear and tear on your body, causing it to age more quickly and making it more prone to illness.

Aging, diagnosis of a new disease, and symptoms or complications from a current illness can increase your stress. Even if you don’t have health problems yourself, someone close to you may be coping with an illness or condition. That can increase your stress levels too. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), more than half of caregiver’s report feeling overwhelmed by the amount of care their family members need.

Emotional problems

When someone feels that is unable to relate to someone, or you need to express your emotions but can’t, it can weigh you down with additional stress. Mental health disorders, including depression and anxiety, only add to the emotional strain. Positive outlets for emotional release and treatment for mental health disorders are important parts of effective stress management.

Life changes

The death of a loved one as family member, friend and etc, or changing jobs, moving houses, and sending a child off to college are examples of big life changes that can be stressful. Even positive changes, such as retirement or getting married, can cause a significant amount of stress.


The of feeling being discriminated against can cause long-term stress. For example, you may experience discrimination based on your race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation. Some people face discrimination and the stress it causes nearly every day.

Traumatic events

People who’ve experienced a traumatic event or life-threatening situation often live with long-term stress. For example, you may experience long-term stress after surviving a robbery, rape, natural disaster, or war. In many cases, you may have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

PTSD is a chronic anxiety disorder brought on by a traumatic event or series of traumatic events. According to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs’ National Center for PTSD, the estimated lifetime prevalence of PTSD among Americans is about 7 percent. The disorder is more common among women, as well as veterans and survivors of abuse.

Dealing with stress

Everyone that have experiences of stress from time to time. In the short term, stress can give you the motivation you need to power through a tough situation or meet a pressing deadline. Over time, however, long-term (chronic) stress can negatively affect your health. If you feel run down, overwhelmed, or worried on a regular basis, you may have chronic stress.

Identifying the causes of stress in your life is the first step in effective stress management. After you’ve figured out what your stressors are, you can take steps to reduce or avoid them. You can also adopt healthy lifestyle habits and strategies to manage the effects of stress. For example, eating a well-balanced diet, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep may help you feel more calm, focused, and energized. Practicing relaxation techniques, such as rhythmic breathing, meditation, or yoga, may also help relieve stress and anxiety. To learn more stress management strategies, speak to your doctor or a mental health professional.

If you've been stressed out for a short period of time, you may start to notice some of these physical signs:

  1. Headache.
  2. Fatigue.
  3. Difficulty sleeping.
  4. Difficulty concentrating.
  5. Upset stomach.
  6. Irritability.

When stress becomes long-term and is not properly addressed, it can lead to several more serious health conditions, including:

  1. Depression.
  2. High blood pressure.
  3. Abnormal heartbeat (arrhythmia).
  4. Hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis).
  5. Heart disease.
  6. Heart attack.
  7. Heartburn, ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome.
  8. Upset stomach -- cramps, constipation, and diarrhea.
  9. Weight gain or loss.
  10. Changes in sex drive.
  11. Fertility problems.
  12. Flare-ups of asthma or arthritis.
  13. Skin problems such as acne, eczema, and psoriasis.

Managing your stress can make a real difference to your health. One study showed that women with heart disease lived longer if they underwent a stress management program.

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