How Stress Can Affect Your Overall Health

How Stress Can Affect Your Overall Health
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You don’t need to be a psychologist to know a lot of people are stressed today. Just take a drive on the interstate during rush hour and you’ll see how stressed people are (before you likely become stressed, too). Nearly one-quarter of Americans report that they have experienced an excessive amount of stress in the previous month, and psychologists believe that’s probably a lowball figure. Stress and anxiety can take a serious toll on us mentally. It can make us feel trapped, hopeless or angry. It can affect our mood and cause us to turn on family and friends. It can create never-ending loops of anxiety as we begin to stress about our stress.

Although we tend to think of stress as something that primarily impacts our mood and mental health, the effects of stress also can take a physical toll that can have serious repercussions. Stress over work can cause us to grind our teeth at night, resulting in tooth pain and weakened enamel that will necessitate a visit to the dentist. Being stressed over financial problems or family strife can cause chronic headaches or digestive trouble. One of the most insidious effects of stress is that it can cause you to neglect your physical health by triggering overeating or drug and alcohol abuse.

Stress does more than put us in a bad mood — it can also put us in bad health overall. If you think your stress is a problem that does nothing more than affect your state of mind, think again. Check out the accompanying guide and understand how stress and anxiety can have physical effects on your body and impact your overall health.

How Stress Can Affect Your Overall Health

1.Headaches — Stress and anxiety can trigger headaches that make it difficult to concentrate, sleep or enjoy social activities in your free time.

2. Weight gain — Stress has been linked to overeating, which can lead to weight gain, obesity and a variety of health issues related to excessive body weight.

3.Teeth grinding — Called bruxism, the grinding of teeth during sleep often is triggered by unresolved stress and anxiety experienced during the day, and can lead to an array of dental problems.

4.Digestive problems — Anxiety and stress can tamper with the body’s natural digestive process and cause heartburn and other types of discomfort.

5.High blood pressure — Experiencing too much stress can raise the body’s blood pressure, which increases the risk of heart attack and heart disease.

6.Sexual problems — Reproductive issues such as fertility problems, erectile dysfunction and irregular periods can be traced to stress and anxiety.

7.Insomnia — People who have stress and anxiety in their everyday lives often report having trouble sleeping, which leads to decreased energy and other issues.

8.Temporomandibular joint disorder — Clenching one’s jaw unconsciously due to stress can result in chronic jaw pain, neck pain or earaches, as well as teeth misalignment.

9.Drug and alcohol use — Some people use drugs and/or alcohol to escape stress, and their use can lead to other health problems on top of the stress that they are attempting to avoid.

10.Depression — Feelings of hopelessness and despair triggered by stress or anxiety can cause people to neglect their health and fall into a cycle of poor decisions. 

Infographic was created by McLean DDS.