There are ways that stress can affect you – physical, emotional, and behavioral manifestations of stress are all possible. Here are some of the ways that stress can affect you.

How does stress affect you?

Emotional

Stress may affect your emotions. Some of the more common emotional manifestations of stress include:

  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Anger
  • Mood Swings
  • Anxiety and Worry
  • Feeling Overwhelmed

When you are stressed, experts say you tend to react to small things in a big way – in other words, problems seem bigger than they actually are. Each issue you have to deal with, no matter how small, can feel like the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Physical

The effects of stress on the body are becoming more and more well known. These may include headaches, digestive disorders, weight gain, and even hair loss.

  • Headaches caused by stress are said to be tension-type headaches, or TTH. Medical professionals say that TTHs result from circulatory fluctuations and muscle tension.
  • Weight gain can result from stress, perhaps due to the overeating some sufferers engage in to cope. It could also be cravings for sugar and other carbohydrates, said to be caused by stress, that add the weight on. Fat that has accumulated around the abdominal area is said to be stress related – a stressed individual may find him or herself able to lose weight but unable to lose the “stress fat” around his or her middle.
  • Digestive disorders can be a sign of stress. These can range from abdominal pain to chronic diarrhea.
  • Hair loss may also result from chronic stress.
  • Heart disease is being linked to stress. The heart and overall circulatory system may be affected by stress to the point of exacerbating or even causing disease or dysfunction.
  • Insomnia is another physical problem that is linked to stress.
  • Susceptibility to illness may be a physical effect of stress – experts say that chronic stress exhausts the immune system, leaving you open to infection and sickness.
  • Chronic pain that is difficult to identify may result from chronic stress. Back and neck pain are the most common types of stress-related pain, but headaches (noted above) and joint pain may be stress related as well.

Behavioral

In adults and children, stress is often exhibited via behavioral changes. Behavioral stress may manifest as:

  • Excessive anger
  • Lashing out verbally or physically at family members or pets
  • Spending inappropriate amounts of money
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Smoking
  • Gambling
  • Staying up very late at night, sleeping very late in the morning, or otherwise keeping unusual hours
  • Withdrawal from activities you once enjoyed
  • Withdrawal from family, friends, or any social activity
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