Diseases caused by stress occur due to emotional, physical, and endocrine reactions occurring in the body. These reactions can hurt our health, both mentally and physically. (stress diseases)
In short, stress can be defined as a physical and mental state in which we enter as a response to stressful events. The reaction to stress is not merely behavior, although it is the only response that is directly observable.
Physiological and endocrine responses are aimed at increasing a person’s energy so that the person can respond to stimulation rapidly and effectively.
It activates our autonomic nervous system (strained muscles, increases our blood pressure, sweat, increases the size of our pupil), which activates our immune system and secretes our endocrine system epinephrine, norepinephrine, and steroids.
The activation of our immune system is meant to prevent us from suffering from infection to prevent stress, but if this stimulation persists over time, the immune system collapses and leaves us exposed to the infection. This is why it is so common to catch a cold after the exam period.
Epinephrine is responsible for releasing stored nutrients, and norepinephrine increases blood pressure so that these nutrients reach the muscles and increase their activation. (stress diseases)
Norepinephrine also acts as a neurotransmitter in the brain and mediates emotional responses to excitatory stimuli.
Cortisol, a steroid hormone that is secreted in stressful conditions, is responsible for converting glucocorticoids into the glucose so that it can be used by our body, also increases blood flow and stimulates behavioral responses.
It also has adverse effects such as reproductive hormones (especially luteinizing hormones) by reducing the sensitivity of reproductive organs, which reduces sexual appetite.
Experiencing prolonged stressful situations causes brain damage, primarily due to exposure to glucocorticoids.
Destruction of hippocampal neurons among brain damage is highlighted, which causes learning and memory problems. It has also been proved that the amygdala suffers injury, which makes a person stressful to identify a new condition.
Also, a phenomenon called stress causes diabolical learning, this phenomenon occurs when a symptom suffers for a long time, in this case, stress, and a self-destructive circuit is created.
Suppose that modifications of some circuits of the brain produce stressful responses to any type of condition, causing the person to withstand more stress, reshape their circuits, and stressful responses become more and more intense. This phenomenon can cause mood swings, irritability, and increased aggression.
The effect of stress on our health depends on internal variables, that is, those that are associated with the individual, as well as external variables with reference. (stress diseases)
Effect Of Stress On Psychological Disorders
It is clear that stress makes some psychological disorders worse, but why does this happen ??
According to the diathesis-stress model developed by Zubin and Vasant, there are genetic and acquired components which make us react to stress in different ways.
This response makes us more susceptible or resistant to conditions that trigger psychological disorders.
Let’s take the case of a person who has a gene that motivates him to act exaggeratedly in stressful situations.
This person does not have to face any psychological condition, but one day he is divorced, he cannot handle the situation, and he starts to manifest the symptoms of some psychological disorder.
Perhaps another person, with different genetics, would have handled the stressful situation differently and not developed a psychiatric disorder.
In the following tables, we can see some of the variables studied in terms of their relationship with stress:
A significant event in itself does not produce a disorder; it is necessary to take into the account vulnerability or natural resistance of the individual and the characteristics of stress and context.
People those are more resistant to stress usually have a genetic predisposition that makes them resilient, which relieves them of negative, stressful events, they have a calm nature, they feel they are under the control of the situation, they think they are effective, they have high self-esteem and are socially well integrated.
There are also external variables which make the event less stressful than community societies where it is normal for people to trust the environment to overcome stressful events, have good relationships with family members (without them being over-enthusiastic), stressful childhood events. During and certainly not because stresses are low intensity and do not last long.
Furthermore, the way stressful events appear determines the type of disorder that can develop. High-intensity but fast-growing stressful situations are harmful only to those who persist over time but are moderate, although acute forms of stress are often associated with symptoms of anxiety, while chronic symptoms are depressive. (stress diseases)
19 Worst Stress Diseases
Stress-Related Physical Disorders
Exposure to prolonged stressful situations may cause or aggravate the physical disorders described below.
These diseases may be due to increased blood pressure due to the secretion of norepinephrine and cortisol. These diseases increase the likelihood of high blood pressure, tachycardia, and even heart attack, stroke, or cerebral infarction.
- Skin Disorders:
Hormonal and endocrine imbalances due to stress can cause problems like acne (due to excess sebaceous secretions), alopecia, spots, eczema, dryness, excessive sweating, weakness in the nails.
Hyperfunction of the endocrine system can lead to the elimination of type II diabetes (due to the systemic increase of glucose in the blood) and in the most severe cases, may influence the person to obesity.
An increase in gastric juice secretion can cause a stomach ulcer, digestive problems, nausea, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and even a disorder called colon/ irritable bowel syndrome, which I will explain later.
Continuous stress makes us prone to allergies, sleep apnea (shortness of breath at bedtime, decreased sleep quality), and asthma.
Muscular and Artistic Problems:
Due to the constant tension of muscles, neck and back pain, tremors and contractions often occur. Furthermore, this, in turn, causes artistic problems.
Headache and Migraine:
Raising blood pressure can provoke meninges (layers surrounding the brain) and may cause headaches and, in more serious cases, migraines.
An important fact is that the brain does not have pain receptors, therefore, when our headaches it does not happen because there is nothing in the mind for us, it is usually due to inflammation of the meninges. (stress diseases)
As I mentioned earlier, if the stressful situation persists over time, then rescue is reduced, so infectious diseases are more likely to occur.
Disorders of The Sexual Organs:
The hormonal imbalance due to stress can cause sexual organs to deteriorate. This decline can lead to changes in the menstrual cycle, loss of sexual appetite, worsening of some disorders of sexual behavior (of which I will talk later) and even infertility in both men and women.
Problems of Development:
The height which we will reach in our adulthood is genetically predetermined, but there is no precise figure in our genes, but there is an interval within which we can have height.
The height we reach within that interval depends on environmental factors, and one of them is stress. It has been proved that adults who faced stress during their childhood do not reach the maximum height of their interval. (stress diseases)
It has been proved that this disorder occurs more often in people who have experienced chronic stress.
People who suffer from a lot of stress in their daily lives are more likely to suffer from anxiety disorders as they become very active in stressful situations due to the devilish learning process described above.
Some studies and researches have shown that chronic stress produces hyperlexia (extreme sensitivity to pain) in the internal organs and somatosensory system and, therefore, is more likely to cause chronic pain.
Sexual Behavior Disorder:
High levels of stress can cause a sexual behavior disorder called hypoactive sexual dysfunction disorder. This disorder occurs more frequently in women and leads to progressive loss of sexual desire.
Sleep disease is common among people suffering from high levels of stress, such as sleep sickness. Furthermore, in a recent study, it has been shown that people are inefficient in coping with this type of stress. (stress diseases)
Binge eating disorder is one of the most frequent eating disorders in people who suffer from stress. This disorder is characterized by episodes of compulsive eating (binge), that is, the person eats an excessive amount of food for a very short period of time and has a feeling of loss of control over what they are doing.
Some studies suggest that stress causes premature aging of critical areas of the brain, like the hypothalamus, and, so it increases the likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
Zubin and Spring suggest that experiencing stress is essential for the onset of acute psychosis. Recent studies have proven that this is true, stressful experiences that are poorly managed, which cause discomfort and anxiety, can produce the presence of psychological symptoms in individuals with a genetic tendency.
Also, if these individuals have experienced childhood trauma, there is a good chance that they will develop psychosis. (stress diseases)
Psychological Disorder Due To Stress
In addition to helping some disorders affect and improve them, there are also disorders mainly caused by stress.
Adaptive Disorder Or Chronic Stress:
As mentioned in a previous article, chronic stress is a type of adjustment disorder characterized by an identifiable and unhealthy emotional and behavioral response to prolonged stress conditions. That is to say; this disorder appears when a person suffers from prolonged stress and does not respond favorably to this stress.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome:
This syndrome is directly caused by a condition that causes acute stress or prolonged stress. Hyperactivation of the endocrine system due to stress can increase sensitivity to internal organs, such as the colon or intestine. (stress diseases)
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder:
This disorder happens as a result of a traumatic experience that causes intense stress, such as sexual abuse or witnessing a catastrophe. It does not occur in all people who experience these types of experiences, it is more often than it develops if the exposure occurred during the person’s childhood or if it uses slightly adaptive strategies to cope with stress.
Finally, I would like to remind all of you that all of these disorders affected or caused by stress develop because we use strategies that are not healthy to deal with the mere fact of suffering from stress. So it is in your hands, take care of yourself, and use adaptive strategies to manage stress.
Note: Depression Cure does not provide any type of medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.