Social Work Programs

April 19, 2010

Effects of Stress on the Body

Filed under: effects of stress on body — Tags: — admin @ 1:27 am

effectsofstressonbody There are many effects of stress on the body. The list of symptoms that can be associated with stress is very long. It includes problems that are associated with every organ of the body. Sometimes people will find that when they are on vacation or change locations that a number of psychological and physical symptoms they had disappear. The relation of the body and mind is fascinating.


Let’s look at a few organs or systems which can be affected by stress.

1. Stomach: Everybody knows that stress can occur in this area. If you’re placed under constant stress, ulcers can form (although it is now understood that part of the formation of ulcers also has to do with a type of spiral bacteria called H. Pylori). Acid is pumped more often, it seems, when one is under constant stress.

2. Colon: Those who experience unrelenting stress oftentimes exhibit colon problems. They might have either constipation or diarrhea. The constipation can be caused when muscles which surround the colon restrict the contents of the colon. However, nervousness can cause the colon wall to start spasm. If this The spasm can causes the contents to liquefy, causing loose bowels. Stress also pumps an amino acid called L-Glutamine, which is important to the structural integrity of the colon walls. When it is pumped out of the system, the colon becomes partially permeable, which lets organisms and even food particles enter the body. Then the body reacts by creating antibodies against food. This can result in food allergies.

3 Skin: The skin is another area that manifests our inner states. Eczema, psoriasis and hives are all things eruptions that can be caused or exacerbated by inner agitation. In all three cases, the causative actions are poorly understood. However, each of these has a stress component.

4. Muscles: The muscles can twitch or tighten when there is inner anxiety. Trigger points can set up in the muscles because they have been clenched for too long. When this occurs, people start getting a damaged trigger point system. Fibromyalgia is a syndrome which is poorly understood, but it seems to have a strong stress-related aspect to it. Cramps in the body can be due to inner tension. The back and shoulders also hold a lot of our pressure and many people spend hundreds a month on massages to release some of the tightness.

5. The Endocrine system: Stress can cause your hormones to fluctuate, just as hormones can cause your stress to fluctuate. Women will notice that their menstrual cycles can stop when their is a lot of anxiety in their lives.

6. The heart: Cardiologists encourage exercise and discuss with their patients ways to manage their daily conflicts through diet and exercise in order to help avoid heart complications . “Type 2 personalities” is a well-known phrase describing a way someone deals with their issues. Constant stress sets up many different things in the body which might affect the heart.

7. Adrenal gland: When one is under constant stress the adrenal gland shrinks. This causes it to not be able to work as efficiently as it used to, which exacerbates the problem.

8. Brain: The brain, particularly long-term memory can be affected by a constant stream of the stress hormone. People often say they aren’t thinking clearly when troubled by issues and that their judgement is not what it had been. Trauma Psychotherapy can help someone process the events that led up to the current problems.

Counseling, yoga and meditation are all helpful to find higher solutions to stress than internalizing it.

1 Comment »

  1. My stress reactions manifest as stomach upsets. I get too acidic. Stress reactions definitely effect me physically and not just mentally. I also get migraines sometimes and need to get right in bed. I guess this is also a way to not have to deal with the situations that stimulated the problems if they are family members.

    Comment by Cary H — April 22, 2010 @ 4:55 pm

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