Negative Effects of Stress
Stress can have a profound impact on the human body, with symptoms ranging from the emotional to the physical. During periods of significant stress, individuals report a variety of physical symptoms, including, but not limited to, headaches, muscle tension, chest pain, fatigue, gastrointestinal distress, or muscle pain. Some report changes to their sex drive, usually marked by a decline in sexual interest, and others encounter changes in their sleep patterns, ranging from a difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep to sleeping too much.
Stress also plays a role in one’s overall mood. Generally speaking, when a person is stressed, they are more likely to be anxious, irritable, restless, or have a loss of focus. Feelings of being overwhelmed can lead to sadness or depression in some cases, or general feelings of anger. Unsurprisingly, these mood changes can also impact one’s relationships with others, further compounding the stress one experiences.
Behavior changes are also likely to take place during periods of high stress. People often report overeating or undereating when they are stressed out; others turn to drug or alcohol abuse as a means of coping with the problems caused by too much stress. Social withdrawal and a lack of physical activity are also hallmarks of periods of increased stress, as are outbursts of extreme emotions. Understanding the symptoms one experiences during times of stress can allow one to develop a more effective stress management plan, mitigating the impact on the individual and their relationships with others in the process.