Effects of Stress

The human body is a complex machine that responds to internal and external demands. Physical, emotional, behavioral and cognitive stress can impede the body's productivity, response timeline and may lead to a number of other health problems. Long term exposure to stressors can jeopardize the body's working mechanism.

The effects of stress can be broadly categorized under the following two categories:

Health problems caused by stress: When stress is experienced over a long period of time, it can cause a range of chronic health problems. It can disrupt every system in the body and result in issues relating to high blood pressure and low immunity. Stress and anxiety can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, cause of infertility and speed up a person's ageing process. Stress can also affect a person at the cognitive level, reducing his/her power to memorize and recall information. It can leave a person being more vulnerable to anxiety and threatening stages of chronic depression.

Stress can also slow down the body's healing process. It can make aches and pains more exacerbated and a person more prone to injuries. Obesity as well as loss of weight are other health effects of stress. Apart from these, stress can also cause trouble in the body's digestive system and can cause chronic problems in the liver and the kidneys. It makes a body more susceptible to auto immune diseases as well as a host of skin conditions such as rashes or eczema.

Psycho-social and emotional problems caused by stress: Stress has been identified as a major cause of psychological, behavioral and emotional problems. A person suffering from stress may be agitated or irritable. They lack energy, enthusiasm and self confidence. Stress can also lead to chronic depression. Stress caused due to physical exertion can leave a person feeling withdrawn and isolated causing procrastination or negligence of responsibilities. A person who is stressed is seldom keen to socialize and maintain an active interpersonal relationship with his family, friends or colleagues. Additionally, they are more susceptible to becoming addicted to drugs, alcohol or cigarettes to fight anxiety and relax. Stress can cause a person to be moody, angry, irritated, agitated, short tempered and even violent.

The effects of stress on the human body are quite detrimental. If not managed effectively and well within time, they can drive a person to extreme levels of physical disability and depression.