While occasional bouts of stress typically present no problems, dealing with stress regularly can affect both your mental and physical health and present problems such as feeling empty or experiencing headaches. Is it a fleeting feeling or something more? Read this article: https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/general/i-feel-empty-when-a-lack-of-meaning-is-something-more-serious/. If you want to learn about the different ways that stress can affect you, take a look at the article below.
The Mental Side Effects of Chronic Stress and Episodic Acute Stress
The effects that too much stress can have on your mind are numerous. From anxiety to depression, here are some of the side effects that you may experience when you are suffering from chronic stress or episodic acute stress.
- Anxiety- Sufferers of long-term stress often deal with anxiety as a result of the fear that they experience during stressful situations. Anxiety comes with its own set of side effects which include excessive sweating, fatigue, nervous energy, intense feelings of dread, heart palpitations, and shaking.
- Depression- On the other end of the spectrum, people dealing with chronic stress may also develop depression. Much like anxiety, depression comes with its own side effects which include fatigue, a lack of interest in things that you used to enjoy, intense sorrow, an increase or decrease in appetite, an increase or decrease in sleeping, irritability, inability to concentrate, slower movements, physical pain, and suicidal ideation.
- Overwhelm- While being overwhelmed pales in comparison to the two side effects listed above, being seriously overwhelmed with work or with life, in general, can have a major impact on how you act. Severe feelings of overwhelm can cause you to shut down completely and can make it so that you feel unmotivated to complete anything or do anything that you used to do. This can be hard to reverse once you are dealing with an overwhelming pattern.
- Isolation- Whether it’s because you are suffering from mental illness or because you are so busy dealing with life that you have no time for social interaction, isolation is likely to happen because of stress. This type of side effect is not only bad on its own but can also lead to you developing a mental illness such as depression
- Substance Abuse- Some people will turn to substances such as alcohol and drugs when faced with too much stress. While alcohol is okay in moderation (drugs are never okay), those who are overly stressed have a tendency to use these substances more than is acceptable. Continued substance abuse can not only worsen existing mental illnesses but can also harm you physically as well.
- Mood Swings- Dealing with too much stress can lead you to have emotional outbursts, Whether it’s crying, screaming, or simply remaining uncharacteristically silent, these outbursts can damage relationships and isolate a person from their friends and family.
“Dealing with distress is difficult. By its very nature, distress is great pain, acute suffering and extreme misfortune,” said Casey Radle, LPC.
The Physical Side Effects of Chronic Stress and Episodic Acute Stress
Stress not only has the ability to affect your mind but will manifest itself physically as well if the stress becomes serious enough. Some physical side effects of chronic stress and episodic acute stress include:
- Experiencing headaches
- A decrease in your desire to have sex
- Stomach problems such as stomach aches and diarrhea
- Having colds and other minor illnesses frequently
- Experiencing physical aches and pains that can’t be explained by physical activity or injuries
- Jaw pain and tooth problems caused by the constant clenching of the jaw or grinding of the teeth
- Pains in your chest as a result of heart palpitations
- Difficulty falling asleep or sleeping too much
- A constant, nervous feeling
Take care of yourself all the time. According to Rhonda Williams, Ed.D., LPC, NCC, prevention for burnout might include such things as asking for supervision, promoting your own personal wellness plan including a method to re-fill your own emotional “bucket.” Karl Memmer, LPC says “I believe the concept of resilience captures the balance between the acceptance of the negative in our lives and the acknowledgment that we can all develop the skills necessary to overcome the adversities we all face.”