Nowadays, most everyone experiences stress in their daily life in one form or another. Be it work, relationships or finances, today’s fast-paced world makes occasional, and even extended periods of stress impossible to avoid.
Overall, stress can be a good thing when dealt with in healthy ways; however, prolonged or chronic stressors can compromise a person’s overall physical and psychological well-being. The dangers of stress can creep up without a person’s even knowing it, making it increasingly difficult to function effectively in daily life. Knowing the dangers of stress and the signs to watch out for can go a long way towards taking the steps needed to regain control of your life.
The Body’s Natural Stress Response
In the face of a perceived threat or stressor, the body’s natural stress response entails a series of chemical and physiological changes that work to produce a “fight-or-flight” response. According to Mayo Clinic, this response starts in an area of the brain known as the hypothalamus. Signals from the hypothalamus trigger the release of hormones, such as cortisol and adrenaline from the adrenal glands.
While these chemical changes do enable a person to deal with a perceived threat, it’s important that the body be able to return to a normal state once the threat passes. In cases of extreme danger or prolonged stress, the body’s ability to do so may well be compromised. These conditions make a person more so susceptible to the dangers of stress.
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The Dangers of Stress over Prolonged Periods
Prolonged periods of stress can lead to memory problems.
Prolonged periods of stress greatly increase the risks associated with the dangers of stress, affecting the body’s overall health on both a physical and psychological level. The rise in cortisol and adrenaline levels cause an increases in heart rate, blood circulation, mental concentration and energy levels, while at the same time suppressing the body’s immune system and digestive functions in order to conserve resources.
When the body remains in this state of overdrive for prolonged periods, this condition causes considerable damage to the affected bodily systems. In effect, the dangers of stress increase the risk of developing one or more the following health problems:
Changes in weight
Certain risks undoubtedly make certain people more susceptible to the dangers of stress than others. According to University of Maryland Medical Center, a person’s overall health, circumstances and the severity of any one stressor most determine his or her vulnerability. Other contributing factors include:
While today’s fast-paced world may make stress unavoidable, being able to cope with stressful conditions regardless of their duration can go a long way towards avoiding the dangers of stress.
If you suspect you or someone you know may be adversely affected by stress and need help finding treatment that meets your needs, please feel free to call our toll-free helpline at 800-481-6320Who Answers? to speak with one of our addictions specialists.
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