Effects of Stress
Stress produces physical symptoms as a result of the body going into the fight-or-flight response. This is when the body goes into alert status and is ready for action. This response may lead to chronic stress and anxiety.
Symptoms range from minor discomfort to life threatening changes. Most commonly seen are peptic ulcers, high blood pressure, respiratory disorders, arthritis, strokes, cancer, migraine and tension headaches, skin disorders, intestinal disorders, change in sleep habits, poor circulation and heart attacks. Other immediate symptoms may include crying, shaking or tremors, heart racing, breathing difficulty, digestive issues, nausea, and vomiting, passing out/collapse.
Reactions to stress can be effective and adaptive or ineffective and maladaptive. Long-term stress and ineffective coping over long periods of time can result in physical and psychological damage. Ineffective responses include drugs or alcohol abuse and defensive behaviors. Burnout is common with ineffective coping skills.
Most of us use drugs in some form to help regain control. Drugs like aspirin for a headache or legal and illegal drugs are used to alleviate the symptoms of stress. They allow us to numb ourselves physically and psychologically. But, when the drugs wear off you still have to deal with reality.
Burnout results from constant stress. It is a state of emotional, physical, intellectual and spiritual exhaustion. This depletes the body on all levels of functioning. People who burnout generally strive on unrealistic goals leading to a constant state of frustration and let down. This can happen to workers and students alike.
The long-term chronic stress has the most widespread effects and can lead to diseases developing like heart disease, chronic respiratory problems like asthma, fibromyalgia, cancer, arthritis and a miriad of other illnesses. Long-term stress and coping tax the body and mind causing inability to function in the normal manner.