How stress can affect individual body

General Psychology

Dr. Sterling Claypoole

April 5, 2021





Stress and Health



In general, Continual and extreme levels of stress can affect an individual’s body, mood and behavior. While some of the effects are visible, especially on the physical health, some effects are not visible. In fact, an individual suffering from psychological effects may not realize it. It would be easy for one to blame the psychological stress effects on the presenting physical health effects. An examination of the relationship better stress and heath, both psychological and physical is important (Oxington, 2005).

To begin with, stress has potential effects on all systems of our body and hence the physical health. This includes the musculoskeletal, respiratory, cardiovascular, endocrine, gastrointestinal, nervous as well as productive systems. It is important to note that, our bodies are designed to handle and manage stress, especially in small doses. However, continual or extreme levels of stress lead to pronounced effects on your body (Oxington, 2005).

For example, chronic stress makes our musculoskeletal system by making our muscles tense and taut for prolonged periods of time. This then leads to body aches around our shoulders, neck and head areas. Thus, people suffering from extreme stress will tend to report frequent headaches and muscular pains. Besides, continual stress will affect how an individual breathes by interfering with our respiratory system. This is manifested through shortness in breathing or conversely, rapid breathing as is the case with panic attacks. Literature also shows that continual stress affects our cardiovascular systems and enhances an individual’s exposure to illnesses such as heart attacks, hypertension and even stroke (Oxington, 2005).

The phycological effects of stress includes anxiety. This is reflected by overreacting or underreacting to situations. Besides, muscular tension makes one to feel restlessness and even lack of sleep for some. This in turn makes individuals suffering from acute stress to have angry outbursts every so often. Besides, the effects of stress on the endocrine system and hence the reduction of cortisol hormones makes one to lack motivation and focus in daily living. As a result, such individuals may turn to drug or alcohol abuse (Oxington, 2005).

The physical effects of extreme stress may even affect one’s sex drive leading to one being irritable and angry most of the time. As such, these individuals tend to withdraw themselves from other individuals and hence avoid inter-personal interactions (Oxington, 2005).



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