Stress is a natural reaction of the body during dangerous and unpleasant situations. He is haunting us everywhere. In some situations, it can manifest itself more obviously, in some - less.
Stresses sharp and chronic.
Acute stress is impossible not to notice. It is a serious nervous shock and can be expressed in such vivid manifestations as hysterical fainting, anguished sobs, nosebleeds, severe headaches.
Nevertheless, in the modern world, chronic stresses are more and more relevant, seemingly not intense, but exhausting the body with prolonged physical, but psyche, emotional stress. Symptoms of chronic stress are less pronounced and almost invisible. You need to learn to recognize the symptoms of stress.
Symptoms of stress can be divided into several groups:
1. Physiological symptoms:
- high or low blood pressure,
- bouts of heat or chills,
- excessive sweating
- tremor, muscle twitching,
- the appearance of muscle hypertonicity, myalgia,
- pain of an uncertain nature, most often headaches, back and stomach pains,
- weight change
- the appearance of rashes of an allergic nature,
- sleep disturbance or loss,
- impaired or loss of appetite,
- violation of sexual activity.
2. Emotional symptoms:
- frequent attacks of anger
- anxiety, increased anxiety even in the absence of a reason,
- increased nervous tension,
- dissatisfaction with oneself, one’s achievements, self-claims,
- feeling of loneliness
- shifting responsibility for oneself to others.
3. Behavioral symptoms:
- increased conflict with people
- an increase in the number of errors when doing work that used to be good,
- fussiness and a feeling of chronic lack of time,
- aggravation of bad habits,
- workaholism, complete immersion in work problems to the detriment of leisure and personal life.
4. Intellectual symptoms:
- trouble concentrating,
- memory impairment
- a constant and intrusive return to the same thought,
- difficulty in making decisions.
The more symptoms you find in yourself, the closer you are to the point of uncontrolled stress. Self-diagnosis is not enough, if you notice some of the symptoms in yourself, be sure to consult a doctor. So you can stop stress at an early stage and prevent its transition to a chronic state, as well as the development of more serious diseases.
Symptoms of Chronic Stress
Chronic stress is a serious threat to human health, reduces its performance and significantly affects the quality of life. You cannot ignore the symptoms of stress and expect them to disappear on their own.
Symptoms of chronic stress include the following:
- Fatigue does not leave you, even after a vacation. In this case, fatigue is observed, both physical and psychological,
- There is no joy in communicating with loved ones, friends, colleagues. There is no desire to see anyone and every day this feeling increases,
- You feel dissatisfaction with yourself, appearance. The feeling of hopelessness and self-doubt does not leave
- There are health problems. May result in chronic fatigue, headaches, insomnia,
- It’s hard to concentrate on anything, memory begins to deteriorate,
- There is a feeling of irritation and anger at all and at oneself.
Chronic stress cannot be triggered, because it can lead to psychosis, neurosis, and even alcoholism. Therefore, it is extremely important to take timely measures to eliminate it. In this case, it is advisable to seek help from a specialist.
Symptoms of Acute Stress
Acute stress is an immediate reaction of an organism to a situation (for example, a threat, a fright). Such stress can occur when a person learns about the death of a loved one, or becomes a witness to death. But acute stress can also occur during interviews, driving a car in a dangerous situation, etc.
The distinctive symptoms of acute stress include the following:
- Emotional numbness
- Chest pain,
- Sharp aggression
If you find yourself in a situation that causes severe stress, the first thing you need to do is gather your thoughts and calm down. A good way to reduce the severity of the reaction during severe stress is to use anti-stressful breathing (a deep breath through the nose and slow exhale through the mouth). Such breathing will help to calm down faster and adapt to the situation.
If you experience stress, no matter what type it is, you need to deal with it. Even if the symptoms are obvious and understandable to you, then you should not self-medicate, but it is best to consult a doctor.
Many studies have shown that stress can contribute to headache, a condition characterized by pain in the head or neck. In one study involving 267 people with chronic headaches, it was found that a stressful event preceded the development of chronic headaches in about 45% of cases.
A larger study showed that increased stress intensity was associated with an increase in headache duration (an increase in the number of days per month).
In another study, 150 military personnel were interviewed in a headache clinic, which revealed that 67% of them experienced headaches as a result of stress. This makes it the second most common cause of headache.
Other common causes of headaches are lack of sleep, alcohol consumption, and dehydration.
Stress is a common risk factor for headaches. Many studies have shown that elevated stress levels are associated with an increase in the frequency of headaches.
Why is stress dangerous?
Scientists say that more than 150 thousand people from 142 countries of the world now have health problems precisely because of stress. The most common of these are heart diseases (angina pectoris, hypertension, myocardial infarction). So, according to the RAS, after the Soviet Union ceased to exist, over 13 years the number of patients with cardiovascular diseases increased from 617 to 900 people per 100 thousand of the population.
At the same time, the number of smokers, people who regularly take alcohol, people with obesity and high cholesterol - that is, those reasons due to which pathologies of the heart and blood vessels develop - remained within the previous values. Then scientists seriously thought about the effect of the psychoemotional state on health.
In second place are the consequences of life in constant tension, mental illness, in third - obesity. Chronic stress does not bypass the organs of the digestive and genitourinary systems, but the changes that occur in them are not so fatal. In addition, a person living in continuous psycho-emotional stress, very much reduces his own immunity, becoming defenseless in the face of many diseases.
How stress develops
For the first time, the processes occurring after a person encounters a traumatic situation were described by psychologist Cannon in 1932. A broad discussion of this issue, as well as the term “stress” itself, appeared only in 1936, after an article by physiologist Hans Selje, who was previously unknown, who called stress “a syndrome that develops as a result of exposure to various damaging agents.”
Selye established that when an agent that exceeds the adaptive resources of the body of this person (in other words, exceeds the threshold of stress tolerance) acts on the psyche, the following reactions develop:
- the adrenal cortex increases, where “stress hormone” is produced, the main glucocorticoid hormone cortisol,
- the number of lipid granules in the adrenal medulla decreases, the main task of which is to release adrenaline and norepinephrine into the blood,
- the volume of lymphatic tissue that is responsible for immunity decreases: the thymus (central organ of immunity), spleen, lymph nodes reverse develops
- the mucous membranes of the stomach and duodenum are damaged up to the formation of ulcers on them (stress ulcers).
Under the influence of the hormones cortisol, adrenaline and norepinephrine, stress ulcers not only arise on the mucous membrane of the stomach and intestines, but also:
- blood glucose levels increase and tissue sensitivity to insulin decreases (that is, due to chronic stress, type 2 diabetes can be "earned")
- blood pressure rises
- heartbeat becomes more frequent
- increased deposition of adipose tissue in the subcutaneous tissue,
- tissue proteins break down, glucose is formed from them,
- sodium is retained, and with it water in the tissues, and potassium, which is necessary for the work of the heart and nerves, is excreted faster than necessary,
Due to a decrease in the volume of lymphatic tissue, overall immunity is reduced. As a result, the body's resistance to infections decreases, and any virus can cause a serious illness and be complicated by bacterial infections.
The stress tolerance threshold is individual for each person. It depends on:
- type of nervous system (it is one of two strong or two weak), which is determined by the speed of reactions and decision making, the severity and nature of human emotions,
- human life experience
- mental stability to the influence of adverse factors.
So, choleric and melancholic are easily exposed to stress, a balanced sanguine - less, phlegmatic - even less (it requires a lot of strength of the stress factor).
Stress is the common name for the reactions described above, when under the influence of the psyche the work of the adrenal glands is activated. He might be:
- positive. This is eustress. It is caused by a joy that suddenly happened, for example, from a meeting with an old friend or from an unexpected gift, inspiration, thirst for competition. It does not adversely affect health. It was in a state of eustress that records were set, discoveries and exploits were made,
- negativecalled distress. We will talk about him further, since he is able to destroy health.
By the nature of the impact, stress, or rather, distress, can be:
- Neuropsychic or psychological. This is the main view, which is divided into 2 types:
- information stress, which occurs as a result of an overabundance of information. It usually develops in people whose job is to constantly process a large amount of information,
- psycho-emotional stress that occurs due to intense anger, resentment, or hatred.
- Physical, which is divided into:
- temperature (for example, in response to exposure to heat or cold),
- food (in case of starvation or forced eating of those foods that cause disgust,
- pain (due to pain, injury),
- light (if a person is forced to stay in an illuminated space all the time: at work, lying in the hospital, if he is in a polar day).
Distress can be caused by extreme conditions (military operations, hurricanes, floods, landslides) or extremely strong psychological events (this is the death of a relative, breakdown, passing an exam).
There is also a classification of a stressing factor (stressor). Its quality may include:
- Life event - a long-time event: moving, business trip, divorce, death of a loved one.
- Catastrophe. This includes trauma, accident, war, the death of a friend.
- Chronic emotional stress. It arises from unresolved ongoing conflicts with family members or colleagues.
- Small life difficulties, which, accumulating like a snowball, can destroy normal relationships in the family.
These stressors are the causes of distress.
How is stress
Hans Selye singled out three stages in response to any stress. The speed of their occurrence depends on the strength of the stressor and the state of the central nervous system of a particular person:
- Stage of anxiety. A person ceases to control his thoughts and actions; prerequisites are created for weakening the body. Behavior becomes the opposite of that which is characteristic of this person.
- Stage of resistance. The body's resistance increases so that a person can make some kind of decision and cope with the situation.
- Stage of exhaustion. It develops with prolonged stress, when the body is "unable" to support the resistance stage anymore. It is at this stage that lesions of the internal organs develop - each one has a different one.
There is a more extended description of the stages, made after the work of Selye. There are 4 stages:
- Mobilization: increased attention and activity of a person, forces are still spent economically. If at this stage the process decays, then it only tempers, and does not destroy, the person.
- Stenic (active) negative emotion. There is anger, aggression, rage. To achieve the goal, forces begin to be spent uneconomically, and the body takes the path of exhaustion
- Asthenic (i.e. passive) negative emotion. It arises as a result of excessive expenditure of own forces at the previous stage. The person is sad, does not believe in his strength and that this situation can be resolved. He may become depressed.
- Complete demoralization. It occurs when the stressor continues to act on the body. A person accepts defeat, becomes indifferent, does not want to solve either the stressor problem, or any others. About a person who is at this stage of distress they say "broken."
What can cause stress
What causes stress in an adult is already discussed above. These are injuries, and moving, and separation / divorce, and the death of a loved one, and monetary problems, and a constant lack of time to complete work on time, and illnesses - of one's own or that of his loved one. Women experience stress at the birth of a child, even if they believed that they had prepared for it for 9 months (women who are difficult to bear pregnancy, suffered a break with their beloved, or had constant conflicts during this period are especially vulnerable to stress).
Factors that increase the chance of developing stress are chronic illnesses, lack of sleep, lack of a friendly environment or friends. More vulnerable to stress are people who are faithful to their beliefs and the word.
The causes of stress in children may not be so obvious:
- problem with treatment in kindergarten,
- the problem of communication with peers,
- change of residence
- increased workloads at school or in the last year of kindergarten attendance,
- communication problems
- Parenting a hobby
- the absence of a person with whom you can discuss your problems,
- sending to sanatoriums or pioneer camps without parents,
- frequent hospitalization without parents,
- initial sexual experience
- dysfunctional situation in the family,
- pet loss,
- a sharp change in the daily routine
- change of time zone
- the contents of the cartoon, film, computer game (scenes of murder, violence, erotic nature),
- random observation of intimate communication between parents or strangers,
- a sharp change in weather conditions.
How to find out that a person is stressed
Distinguish between acute and chronic stress. They appear in different ways, and we will analyze them in detail later.
There is also a diagnosis of Acute Stress Response. This is the name of the disorder that occurs in a mentally healthy person in response to a very strong psychological and / or physical stressor, when there was a direct threat to the life of that person or someone close to him. It can be noted after:
- natural disaster (hurricane, tsunami, floods),
- fire in the house
- rape, especially if it was particularly cruel,
- the death of children
- car wrecks,
- of how a person was taken hostage in a terrorist act,
- participation in hostilities, especially bloody.
Such severe stress is a short-term disorder; it lasts several hours or 1-2 days. After it, urgent help (within the first 48 hours) of a competent psychiatrist or psychotherapist is necessary, otherwise stress will either end in a suicidal attempt or become chronic with all the ensuing consequences.
The higher the risk of developing a reaction to severe stress in people:
- exhausted after illness or hard work,
- having a brain disease
- who are over 50 years old
- who do not see help from
- for whom what happened was a complete surprise,
- when other people die around.
An acute reaction to stress is indicated by symptoms that begin a few minutes after what happened (less often, tens of minutes):
- Such a clouding of consciousness, when a person ceases to be guided in what is happening, but can pay attention to small details around. Because of this, a person can commit strange, meaningless actions, as a result of which it may seem to others that he has lost his mind.
- Человек может высказывать бредовые идеи, рассказывать о несуществующих событиях или разговаривать с кем-то, кого нет рядом. Такое поведение длится короткий промежуток времени, может резко оборваться.
- A person with an acute reaction does not understand or poorly understands the speech addressed to him, does not fulfill requests, or does it wrong.
- Extreme retardation of both speech and movement. It can be expressed to such an extent that a person freezes in one pose and answers questions only with some kind of sound. Less often, there may be a reverse reaction: a verbal flow that is difficult to stop, as well as severe motor anxiety. There may even be a stampede or attempts to inflict severe injuries.
- Reactions from the autonomic nervous system: dilated pupils, blanching or redness of the skin, vomiting, diarrhea. There may even be such a sharp drop in blood pressure that a person dies.
- Often there are also such symptoms of stress as: confusion, inability to answer (with full understanding of speech), aggressiveness, despair.
If a person with an unhealthy psyche (but not mentally ill) finds himself in a similar situation, the acute reaction of the body to stress may not be the same as described above.
If these symptoms are observed for more than 2-3 days, this is not an acute reaction to stress. Urgently need to contact a neurologist, infectious disease specialist, psychiatrist or narcologist to search for the real cause of this condition.
After the acute reaction, the memory of such a behavior disappears partially or completely. At the same time, a person remains tense for some time, his sleep and behavior are disturbed. For 2-3 weeks he is exhausted, he has no desire to do anything, and even the will to live. He can go to work and perform it mechanically.
The fact that stress has occurred in a person’s life is indicated by the following symptoms that occur immediately or shortly after a collision with a stressor:
- emotional "explosion", which is combined with either a feeling of uncontrolled anxiety or fear, or with excitement close to aggression,
- nausea, may be a single vomiting (we are often shown this in films),
- feeling of tightness, discomfort in the chest,
- rapid breathing, which may be accompanied by a feeling of lack of air,
- chills or feeling of heat
- abdominal pain,
- numbness, feeling of "cotton" limbs, stress urinary incontinence.
If the stress was strong, but did not reach a critical level (when there was a life threat, after which an acute reaction to stress usually develops), in addition to the above symptoms, a person may have:
- cramps (muscle contractions) without loss of consciousness,
- skin rash identical to urticaria that occurs in response to an allergen entering the body,
- painful urge to empty the intestines, after which there is loose stool,
- a pronounced sense of hopelessness, despair
This condition in modern people with a fast pace of life is much more common. Symptoms of chronic stress are not as pronounced as during an acute reaction to stress, so they often attribute it to fatigue and do not pay attention until it leads to the development of various diseases. When the latter appear, a person turns to doctors and begins treatment, which does not lead to proper results because the reason - life in chronic stress - remains unresolved.
The fact that a person suffers from chronic stress will be indicated by signs that can conditionally be divided into several groups:
Associated with a change in human physiology
Due to stress, a person can experience quite physical suffering, which makes him look for a reason, visit doctors of various specialties, take a large number of medications. But the presence of the following symptoms, when they develop in a person experiencing frequent or constant stress, does not mean that he does not have a peptic ulcer or angina pectoris. Therefore, we will list them, and you will know that if you find part of them, you will be examined, but the doctor says that you can’t find anything, these are signs of stress disorder, and you need to treat them accordingly.
The physiological symptoms of chronic stress include:
- cut in the stomach
- bruxism (grinding teeth in a dream),
- pain behind the sternum
- frequent urination
- dry mouth
- hand cooling
- difficulty swallowing
- periodic muscle cramps: spasm of the muscles of the hands, incomprehensible and moving muscle pains,
- "Twisting" of the joints,
- hot flashes, redness of the face,
- frequent infectious diseases of the respiratory tract, accompanied by cough, runny nose,
- decreased appetite
- loss or weight gain
- during the next stress, the temperature may rise by several tens,
- "Jumps" in blood pressure,
- increased sweating
- strong trembling of the upper limbs,
- tics and obsessive movements,
- a rash in the form of red spots or vesicles that has arisen “from scratch”,
- erectile dysfunction, decreased libido.
Symptoms related to emotions
The presence of chronic stress in a person is evidenced by changes in the nature of the person, when a person balanced before this appears:
- underestimation of self-esteem,
- bursts of anger
- Impulsive actions
- hostility to others
- the disappearance of goals, incentives, interests in life,
- constant criticism of loved ones,
- a sense of unreality of what is happening,
- concentration on unpleasant events,
- lowering the anxiety threshold,
- command screaming
- feeling of loneliness, hopelessness, unspeakable longing,
- thoughts of suicide
- a change in the length of sleep and a violation of its quality (nightmares),
- increased sensitivity to loud sounds, bright or flashing light,
- memory impairment
- even the slightest nuisance can cause panic, anxiety or aggression.
Social and behavioral symptoms
The fact that a person has chronic stress will be prompted by changes in his behavior and communication. It:
- loss of interest in appearance,
- loss of previous interests: to work, to a hobby,
- nervous laughter
- addiction to alcohol, drugs, medications,
- trying to be isolated
- constant lack of time
- workaholism and a constant load at work and at home as an independent attempt to "get away" from the situation,
- a person becomes conflict
- in the usual work makes many small mistakes,
- driving often behaves inappropriately, speaking rudely in relation to the surrounding drivers.
- memory impairment: a person does not remember well and quickly forgets, there may be memory lapses,
- difficulties in analyzing new information,
- repetition of what was said earlier
- obsessive thoughts, often negative ones
- speech viscosity
- difficulty in making a decision.
Features of the course of stress in women
Women are more vulnerable to stress. In addition, in attempts to be an ideal wife and mother, they try not to talk about their experiences, but "accumulate" them in themselves. This causes the appearance of certain symptoms, most of which are described above, without differing from "male" ones. Of these, if you do not pay attention to it in time, gynecological, cardiac, endocrine disease or obesity can “grow”.
Signs of stress in women, according to which it is not always possible to guess that she has stress, are:
- headache (most often felt in half of the head),
- joint pain
- “Failure” of the monthly cycle,
- sudden, not typical for a woman earlier, mood swings,
- twitching of the eyelid in one eye, which lasts several minutes,
- back pain,
- the appearance of "incomprehensible" red elements of the rash and / or ulcers,
- cramps accompanied by pain, then in one, then in another part of the abdomen,
- panic attacks
- stomach pains
- poor coordination
- addiction to certain types of food (often sweets and dairy products) and alcohol,
- According to the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, a symptom of stress developing under the influence of cortisol can be a frequently recurring vaginal thrush,
- hair loss (it may not be right away, but 3-6 months after stress),
- “Noise”, “whistle”, “clicking” in the ears,
- decreased performance
- decreased instinct for self-preservation,
- thoughts of suicide
- a change in attitude towards oneself and loved ones (guilt, emotional coldness).
Especially it is necessary to pay attention to such (mainly the last 4) symptoms after childbirth. They suggest that postpartum depression or a more dangerous postpartum psychosis may begin.
If we examine in detail the work of Hans Selye, then the development of stress can be divided into three stages:
- Stage of anxiety. The body, responding to a certain stimulus, starts the process of adaptation.
- Stage of resistance. The response period of the body to the acting element.
- Stage of exhaustion. The supply of adaptive energy is gradually running out.
Initially, the stress response was considered exclusively as a negative process, but later a division into:
- Eustress (body reaction to some positive effects). A specific type is characterized by a positive progression - memory improves, curiosity and performance increase.
- Distress (reaction to negative factors). Often leads to negative reactions that reduce overall performance.
The importance of timely detection
Considering the stressful state as a medical problem, one can trace the relationship - the result of nervous strain is expressed in inappropriate behavior. Gradually, some negative consequences begin to appear: uncontrollable emotional states, aggression, or excessive temper.
If you miss certain signs and symptoms, then a stressful reaction can gradually turn into various depressive states and, accordingly, more complex and dangerous reactions for a person can occur.
Often depression leads to decreased performance and a lack of interest in life. It can cause suicidal tendencies. Accordingly, such a development of events should be determined and avoided in time, timely and adequately responding to a developing problem.
What can be stress?
The following types of stress are distinguished according to the impact model:
- Physical stress is a specific reaction of the body to various stimuli of a physical and physiological nature. It manifests itself as a reaction to: fatigue, temperature, thirst, pain, hunger. Short-term loads can also have a hardening effect, but the face for each is individual.
- Mental (emotional) stress is the primary response to emotional stimuli. A specific type is manifested as a reaction to various unpleasant situations, but sometimes it is a consequence of some far-fetched factors.
- Short-term stress manifests itself as hardening factors. Usually, it is the main psychophysical reaction to an unusual situation. A particular example of short-term stress, causing a positive adaptive result, can be considered hardening with cold water.
- Chronic stress - refers to depressing reaction patterns. The body begins to be depressed in all manifestations, a decline in immunity and a decrease in the activity of mental functions are possible. As a private example, we can give a reaction to the death of a loved one.
3. Chronic pain
Physical signs of stress include chronic pain, which is a common complaint. In one study involving 37 adolescents with sickle cell disease, higher levels of daily stress were found to be associated with an increase in pain over the course of one day.
Other studies have shown that elevated levels of cortisol (stress hormone) may be associated with chronic pain. For example, one study compared 16 patients with chronic back pain to a control group. It was found that people with chronic pain had higher levels of cortisol.
Another study found that people with chronic pain have higher levels of cortisol in their hair, which indicates prolonged stress.
Keep in mind that these studies show a link, but do not take into account other factors that may also be involved. In addition, it is unclear whether stress affects chronic pain, or vice versa, or whether another factor is present that causes both of these conditions.
There are many other factors that can contribute to chronic pain, including conditions such as aging, trauma, poor posture, and nerve damage.
Some studies have shown that chronic pain can be associated with higher levels of stress, as well as with increased levels of cortisol.
4. Frequent illnesses
If you feel you are constantly struggling with a runny nose, stress may be to blame. This condition may affect your immune system and may cause increased susceptibility to infections.
In one study, 61 older people were given the flu vaccine. It was found that patients with chronic stress had a weakened immune response to the vaccine, indicating a possible association of this condition with a decrease in immunity.
In another study, 235 adults were assigned to high or low stress groups. Over a six-month period, patients with high stress had 70% more respiratory infections, and they experienced symptoms 61% longer than the low-stress group.
Similarly, one analysis of 27 studies showed that stress was associated with increased susceptibility to upper respiratory tract infection. Understanding the complex relationship between stress and immunity requires additional research involving people.
A weakened immune system can also result from poor diets, lack of exercise, and some immunodeficiency diseases, such as leukemia and multiple myeloma.
Stress can damage your immune system. Studies show that higher stress levels are associated with increased susceptibility to infection.
First signs of the disease
Like any disease, stress has its own developmental factors and certain symptoms, of course, for each person and for each specific situation, the symptoms can vary, as well as the individual perception of the problem.
Common signs of stress include:
- increased irritability and emotional decline,
- persistent insomnia
- pessimistic moods and indifference,
- impaired memory and concentration,
- decreased or increased appetite,
- headaches and fatigue.
If we take into account stressful conditions and certain signs that are inherent only to a particular type, then we can clearly distinguish between male stress and female stress, which may have their own symptoms.
5. Lower energy levels and insomnia
Chronic fatigue and decreased energy levels can also be caused by prolonged stress. For example, one study of 2483 people found that fatigue is strongly associated with increased stress levels.
Stress can also disturb sleep and cause insomnia, which can lead to low energy levels. One small study found that higher levels of stress associated with work are associated with increased drowsiness and anxiety at bedtime.
Another study of 2316 participants found that an increased number of stressful events was significantly associated with an increased risk of insomnia.
These studies show a connection, but they do not take into account other factors that could play a role. Further studies are needed to determine if stress can directly cause a decrease in energy levels.
Other factors that can play a role in lowering energy levels are dehydration, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), poor diet, or hypothyroidism (thyroid failure).
Stress is associated with fatigue and sleep disturbances, which can lead to lower energy levels.
6. Changes in libido
Many people experience changes in sex drive during stressful periods. One small study evaluated stress levels in 30 women and then measured their arousal while watching an erotic movie. Women with high levels of chronic stress experienced less excitement than women with low levels of stress.
Another study of 103 women found that higher levels of stress were associated with lower levels of sexual activity and satisfaction.
Similarly, in one study, 339 subjects were examined. They reported that high levels of stress negatively affect sexual desire, arousal, and satisfaction.
There are many other potential causes of changes in libido, including hormonal changes, fatigue, and psychological causes.
Некоторые исследования показали, что более высокие уровни стресса связаны со снижением полового влечения, возбуждения и удовлетворения.
7. Проблемы с пищеварением
Signs of extreme stress also include digestive problems such as diarrhea and constipation. For example, in one study, 2699 children were studied, which revealed that exposure to stressful events was associated with an increased risk of constipation.
Stress can especially affect digestive disorders, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). They are characterized by pain in the stomach, bloating, diarrhea and constipation.
In one study, higher levels of daily stress were associated with aggravated digestive upset in 181 women with IBS.
In addition, in one of 18 studies that examined the role of stress in inflammatory bowel disease, 72% of studies found a link between stress and digestive symptoms.
Although these data show a connection, more research is needed to see how stress can directly affect the digestive system.
Also, keep in mind that many other factors can cause digestive problems, such as diet, dehydration, physical activity, infections, or certain medications.
Some studies have shown that stress can be associated with digestive problems, such as constipation and diarrhea, especially in patients with digestive disorders.
8. Changes in appetite
Signs of emotional stress include changes in appetite. When you feel stressed, you may find that you have completely lost your appetite, or you may begin to "raid" the refrigerator in the middle of the night.
One study of college students found that 81% said they noticed changes in appetite when they experienced severe stress. Of these, 62% experienced an increase in appetite, and a 38% decrease.
In a study of 129 people, the effects of stress were associated with behaviors such as eating without feeling hungry.
These changes in appetite can also cause fluctuations in body weight during stressful periods. For example, a study of 1,355 people found that stress was associated with weight gain in overweight adults.
Although these data show a relationship between stress and changes in appetite or weight, more research is needed to understand if other factors are involved.
Other possible causes of appetite changes include the use of certain medications, hormonal changes, and psychological conditions.
Studies show that there may be a correlation between changes in appetite and stress levels. In some people, higher stress levels can also lead to weight gain.
Some studies suggest that chronic stress can contribute to depression. In one study involving 816 women with severe depression, it was found that the onset of depression was significantly associated with both acute and chronic stress.
Another study found that high stress levels were associated with higher levels of depressive symptoms in 240 adolescents.
In addition, a study of 38 people with severe chronic non-chronic depression showed that stressful life events were significantly associated with depressive episodes.
Remember that these data show a connection, but do not necessarily mean that stress causes depression. More research is needed on the role of stress in the development of depression.
Other potential factors contributing to depression include heredity, hormone levels, environmental factors, and even certain medications.
Some studies have shown that high levels of stress can be associated with depression and depressive episodes.
10. Heart palpitations
Symptoms of stress also include an increase in heart rate. In one study, heart rate reactivity was measured in response to stressful and non-stressful events, and as a result, it was noted that heart rate was significantly higher during stressful conditions.
Another study involving 133 adolescents showed that a stressful task caused an increase in heart rate.
In a similar study, it was found that in 87 students, a stressful task increases their heart rate and blood pressure. It is interesting to note that playing relaxing music during the assignment actually helped prevent these changes.
Heart palpitations can also be caused by high blood pressure, thyroid disease, certain cardiovascular diseases, and drinking a lot of caffeinated or alcoholic beverages.
Several studies have shown that high stress levels can cause heart palpitations. Stressful events or tasks can also increase your heart rate.
Stress can also result in excessive sweating. In one small study, 20 people with palmar hyperhidrosis were studied - a condition characterized by excessive sweating in the hands. The study evaluated their sweating rate during the day using a scale of 0 to 10.
It was found that stress and exercise significantly increased the rate of perspiration by two to five points in patients with palmar hyperhidrosis, as well as in the control group.
Another study of 40 adolescents found that exposure to stress leads to excessive sweating and body odor.
Excessive sweating can also be caused by anxiety, overheating of the body (for example, in the heat or with significant physical exertion), thyroid disease, and the use of certain medications.
Studies show that stress can cause increased sweating in people with sweating disorders, such as palmar hyperhidrosis, and in any other people.
Features of the course of stress in children
Signs of stress in the child are also not particularly noticeable, especially if the baby is not yet at a conscious age.
If the child is less than 2 years old, the fact that he suffered stress will be indicated by a refusal to eat, tearfulness and irritability. The same symptoms will develop in any inflammatory or non-inflammatory process, so they must be excluded first.
A child of 2-5 years old “claims” about the shock over the return of old habits: sucking a finger, a dummy, refusing to feed herself, and urinary or fecal incontinence. The baby may begin to cry under changing circumstances (for example, from the fact that they begin to wake him up at night in the toilet) or when new people appear. He may also stutter.
Hyperactivity or, conversely, decreased activity, unreasonable short-term fever, vomiting, frequent mood swings, and the appearance of many fears (darkness, loneliness, dogs or people of certain professions) will testify to stress in a child 2-5 years old. A stressful baby falls asleep badly.
In a child 5-9 years old, stress is manifested by the following symptoms:
- decline in performance,
- behavior, as in younger children (the child begins to "lisp", to lass, to become like a baby),
- causeless fears, anxieties,
- attempts to run away from home or, conversely, the child tries not to leave the house, avoids other children, does not want to attend school,
- increased or, conversely, decreased appetite,
- nausea and even vomiting
- chest pain
- jams in the corners of the mouth
- stratification of nails,
- a child may partially forget stressful events,
- nervous tics or the appearance of habits biting nails or other objects (rulers, gum, pens), pulling hair, poking around in the nose, combing the skin,
- defiant behavior for several days,
- if the child begins to lie, this can also be a sign of stress.
What are the symptoms of stress
The main symptoms after stress indicate exhaustion. It:
- the appearance of heat intolerance,
- causeless nausea
- fatigue that appears faster than before may not go away even after a long rest,
- insomnia at night, drowsiness during the day, but there may be constant drowsiness of the patient,
- decreased appetite
- decreased libido
- indifference to one’s own appearance,
- impaired attention, memory,
- difficulty concentrating
- negative thoughts
- a person becomes quick-tempered, irritable,
- the pulse is quickened, blood pressure is increased or decreased, sweating, headaches, sweating are increased.
But if the irritant was strong enough, then if an acute reaction to stress did not develop, then after a few weeks or months (up to six months), a person may develop post-traumatic stress disorder syndrome. It manifests itself:
- estrangement from others,
- incredulity to others,
- inadequate (usually very weak or completely absent) reaction to current events,
- a person "lives" in his problem: during the day he thinks about the stressor, at night he dreams about him in the form of nightmares,
- if it seems to a person that the traumatic situation followed after a combination of some phenomena, then when they reoccur in his life, he becomes aggressive, experiences a panic attack,
- panic attacks can occur on their own, they decrease when communicating with other people, so at such moments the patient willingly makes contact even with strangers,
- a person may experience pain in the abdomen, in the heart, in the head. On this occasion, he is sometimes examined, but they do not find anything. This forces him to look for a "competent" doctor, to turn to many specialists. If none of the medical workers correlates the symptoms with the experienced stress, the patient may lose faith in medicine, begin to treat himself, and take alcohol or narcotic substances “to calm”.
Thus, the symptoms caused by stress are very similar to diseases of the internal organs. It can be suspected that this is stress, due to the fact that the symptoms affect several body systems at once (for example, joint pain and heartburn occur). The diagnosis can only be clarified by examination: then with the help of instrumental (fibrogastroscopy, cardiogram, ultrasound of the heart, X-ray of the gastrointestinal tract) and laboratory (these are analyzes) studies, no changes will be revealed or they will be minimal. The presence of stress will be confirmed by a psychotherapist or psychiatrist on the basis of a conversation with a person and some oral tests. A stress reaction will also be indicated by the levels of cortisol and the hormone ACTH in the blood.
Women are vulnerable creatures ...
Women, who are sensitive to nature and their spiritual harmony, are quite simple to break, but restoring peace is a more difficult task.
The solution to the problem begins with its detection, and the following symptoms are characteristic of female stress:
- weight destabilization
- anxiety and irritability
- insomnia and headaches
- skin rashes,
- back pain and disruption of the digestive tract,
- difficulty breathing and high blood pressure,
- reduced attention span,
- menstrual irregularities and decreased libido.
Men are not easy either
Men are considered fairly stress-resistant, compared with women, but similar conditions are also not uncommon for them.
Nervous stress affects the condition of men no less than the condition of women. Although the symptoms of stress in men are largely similar to the female version, there are some nuances:
- aggressive behavior and irritability,
- violation of erection and decreased sexual desire,
- high blood pressure and headaches
- reduced criticality of perception.
Manifestations in children
Not only adults can experience the negative effects of stress factors. Cases of childhood stress are not uncommon, they may have the following symptoms:
- nausea and colic
- aggressive reactions
- attention and sleep disorder.
Usually, such conditions in children are caused by some difficulties in the process of learning and communicating with peers.
Stressful symptoms have many points, but if you take some boundary models of stress, they can differ.
The most difficult conditions are considered: acute and chronic stress. Each of the above models has some nuances of its own manifestation.
In general, it is customary to separate acute stress and post-traumatic stress. Nevertheless, some common roots of both variations of the human condition can be seen.
Each of the specific types of stress is distinguished by the fact that it is associated with a certain situation that led to a deep state. Highlighting the symptomatic points of an acute stressful process, it should be indicated:
- increased anxiety,
- sensations of unreality - both the world around us, and self,
- irritability and acute attacks of aggression,
- impaired memory and sleep,
- the desire to avoid resembling circumstances and objects.
If we pay attention to the differences in the given variations of the acute model of the stressful situation, the difference is that post-traumatic stress does not always go away in the acute form, which lasts no more than a month.
Sometimes, post-traumatic trait goes into prolonged chronic stress, which has its own exceptional manifestations.
Examining chronic stress in detail, one can clearly define - this is a long process. In fact, this model is marked by the duration and the fact that the next disorder and aggravation of the situation can occur for completely minor reasons. As symptoms inherent in chronic stress, it is worth mentioning:
- fixation on the root cause
- hypersensitivity to natural irritants (light, sound),
- reduced concentration and activity of thinking,
- prolonged sleep disturbances,
- disruptions in the autonomic nervous system,
- disorders in reproductive systems.
If you conduct some consideration of internal sensations, then you can most likely diagnose your own stress disorder. Often, during a period of stress, a person experiences the following sensations:
- life is losing color
- positive emotions are not actually perceived
- lack of desire to communicate with others,
- you feel a general breakdown,
- there is no interest in any type of activity.
View from the outside
It is also possible to notice the onset of stress in your own environment. If you look at a person in a similar condition, you can notice similar symptoms and manifestations of disturbance of mental balance in him:
- decrease in self-esteem,
- strange detachment from reality,
- inadequate response to treatment.
Unfortunately, stress can turn into quite complex forms of mental disorders, and depression is just the tip of the iceberg. People in a state of advanced stress can go on to obsessive pathological conditions and neuroses. Usually, these are general ailments and obsessive thoughts in the following categories:
- suicidal desires
- desire for reprisal
- loss of self-control
- paralysis of one’s own position.
All these points make it possible to timely detect the problem, both at home and at relatives. A clear definition of the stress state, in turn, provides an opportunity to avoid its transition to prolonged depression and other mental pathologies.
Quite often, deep and acute degrees of stress require urgent medical attention, and independent attempts to get rid of it are doomed to failure.