It has been established that stress in profound level and duration can take both physical and emotional toll on humans. This can directly and indirectly affect our daily activities in life. Below are some of the harmful effects of stress:
Issues with Memory and Learning
It has been determined that stress can alter memory. Acute or short-term stress might actually be helpful because the hormones release during stress helps influence memory storage and immediate events concentration. However, in long-term stress, the person may experience loss of concentration. Reports of inefficiency and clumsiness are noticed among people who have been under chronic or long-term stress.
There is also bad news about chronic stress among children. When kids are exposed to stress for a long period, this increases the level of stress hormones in the memory center of the brain, also known as the hippocampus. This activity results in the shrinkage of the hippocampus, thus affecting the concentration and learning abilities of the child.
Ineffective Emotional Management
Losing the cool is often used as a manifestation of stress in people. It has been studied that even a low level of stress can make the person lose grip on his emotions, sentiments and rage. Daily encounters with stress do not imply immunity. Consequently, there are instances that we may be able to manage well, and yet there will be times that we won’t be able to control it.
Weight Management Disorder
Stress has a place in the list of contributors of obesity and weight gain. People who are exposed to stress will experience cravings for fatty or salty foods. This is a physiologic response to stress. These are the types of foods responsible for the development of abdominal fat. Also, many resort to their ‘comfort foods’ during periods of perceived trouble and sorrow. Most of these are foods which give pleasure and good memories during our childhood consist of chocolates, candies and cakes, it could lead to weight gain. Carbohydrates and endorphins found among these treats can actually enhanced serotonin production. This is the specific chemical messenger that can help the person in improving the moods. Furthermore, individuals who are distressed tend to rely on foods for pre-occupation and leisure.
In addition, stress is also one of major factors leading to teenage and young adult eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia. Unattended distress about body image may cause injury to a person’s esteem, resulting to under-eating and/or starvation.
Hair Loss Frenzy
There were also several cases of hair loss without medical or physiological reasons. This type of hair loss occurs in specific area in the head, giving away a bald patch appearance. This is termed as Alopecia areata. It can mostly affect individuals who are experiencing death of family members, separation, or facing court trials. Experts say that it is caused by either an intense stress or stress occurring in long period of time.
Higher Risk of Chronic Conditions
If stress persists without proper treatment, it can lead to serious medical problems. The effect of stress over time is attributed to medical conditions such as compromised immune system, anxiety, insomnia and high blood pressure. These are elements of chronic diseases – cardiovascular conditions, diabetes and even depression.
Though we cannot entirely credit chronic stress to disease, it is possible that it had aggravated the risk. There are individuals who are already prone to the conditions due to heredity, occupational hazard, diet and lifestyle. Poorly handled stress opens a way for these diseases to manifest in our body.
Stress can start through many forms such as loss of a job, disagreement with partners or friends, social isolation, finances or examinations. Basically, these factors spell life itself. However, if is not addressed properly for a long period of time, both the mind and body might succumb at some point.