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Understanding the Negative Side Effects of Stress

Effects of Stress

  • Some physical side effects of stress include:
    -migraine
    -
    -irritable bowel syndrom
    -sleeping problems
  • Stress also negatively affects mental health


Most of us feel stressed at some point in our lives. Maybe it’s due to facing a deadline at work or studying for a test in school. Maybe the stress of juggling family, work, and all other responsibilities are making you feel overwhelmed. If you don’t know how to deal with those feelings appropriately and you continue feeling stressed day after day, you’re going to begin experiencing some negative side effects. These can have an impact on your physical and emotional well being.

Physical Side Effects of Stress

Some of the most obvious effects of stress are manifested in physical symptoms. You probably have already realized that when you feel stressed your whole body reacts. Your neck and back muscles may tighten. You may suffer from headaches, feel sick to your stomach, have heartburn, skin breakouts, or even get cold or sweaty hands and feet. Besides these problems, you may also experience other types of physical discomfort. For example, stress can lead to constipation, dizziness, chest pain, and fatigue. With chronic stress, those physical feelings are only part of the damage that could be done to your body.

Stress, if left untreated, can exacerbate other more serious health problems, such as high blood pressure and diabetes. You may develop migraines, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcers, and heat disease. Stress can also interfere with your ability to get pregnant, may cause you to gain weight or have difficulty losing weight. When you are stressed, your immune system may not work as well and that means you may be more susceptible to illnesses and infections.

Emotional & Mental Side Effects of Stress

While you may complain about the physical problems resulting from ongoing stress, they are certainly not the only effects you’re likely to experience. For example, stress can contribute to many emotional and mental side effects. Mental illnesses, such as bipolar disorder and depression – both acute and chronic – can be worsened by ongoing feelings of stress. Anxiety and nervousness are also heightened by stress factors. You will also notice that stress can interfere with your mind’s ability to work. When you are worried and tense, you may find it harder to remember things. Your thoughts may be racing, you may not be able to focus, you may find it difficult to learn new information, and have problems communicating. It is not uncommon that the effects begin to have a snowball effect leading to more serious problems that can swing out of control.

One of the most common side effects of stress is sleeplessness. According to the American Psychological Association, more than one-third of people actually have problems sleeping at night because of stress. When people are experiencing these levels of stress, they can also lead to panic attacks, mood swings, hostility, and suicidal thoughts. These symptoms are signs that a person may want to seek professional help in dealing with their stress environment and reactions.


Stress is also a major contributing factor to most addictions. Consequently, many people attempt to medicate themselves with drugs, alcohol, food, shopping, gambling, or sex. While these methods may offer immediate relief, they only offer a temporary reprieve. Quick methods are not going to have any long-term benefits and will actually only make our stress problems worse.

If you are experiencing any of the warning signs or symptoms of stress, or if you see any symptomatic, stress related concerns involving your friends or family members, it is important to consult a doctor for a full evaluation. A mental health professional can help you or others determine the best possible ways to help anyone deal with stressful situations and environments.

The information supplied in this article is not to be considered as medical advice and is for educational purposes only.

One Response to “Understanding the Negative Side Effects of Stress”

  1. 1
    Ben Says:
    I was working in a very stressful job for years and the stress from the job caused me to lose close to 20 pounds and my libido suffered. It was amazing how much better I felt when I switched jobs. My wife was happy too.