Physical psychological symptoms of stress

The physical psychological symptoms of stress are varied. They happen when the stress is positive (marriage/birth) or negative (job loss / death). Your body doesn’t recognize the difference between the two types of stress and you end up with the same physical and psychological symptoms of stress.

There are some immediate physical and psychological symptoms of stress that are related to the diversion of blood from less vital organs and structures. People may experience cold clammy skin, goose bumps, frequent stools that can be related to Irritable Bowel Syndrome, loss of appetite, dry throat and difficulty speaking. A person can also experience cardiac effects such as palpitations, chest pain or flushing. You may find that your breathing rate increases or you feel breathless and your energy appears to disappear.

Other physical psychological symptoms of stress can include more frequent infections such as a cold or sinus infection. You may have trouble getting over these minor illnesses as well. Decreased appetite leading to weight loss or increased leading to weight gain. Some people complain of a loss of sexual drive, sleeplessness or exacerbations of arthritis, lupus, psoriasis and asthma.

These illnesses aren’t caused directly by stress but an increased stress level decreases the ability of the immune system to fight off problems and infections and also decreases the ability of your body to hold the current conditions at bay. You may find you have memory disturbances or even mood swings, anxiety, depression and irritability. People who are suffering from stress will have difficulty focusing on a task and may have problems with outbursts of anger.

While most of these physical psychological symptoms of stress will disappear when the stressor is eliminated if the trigger persists then some of the symptoms can continue as well. Sometimes when people suffer from high levels of stress hormones or increased about of toxic metabolites they can have a difficult time with handling stress. The long term effects of stress include stroke, weight loss or gain, substance abuse, anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, irritable bowel disease, stroke, or ischemic bowel disease like Crohns or Ulcerative Colitis.

Even though the symptoms and outcomes can be devastating there is always a treatment available to people who want to change the way that they cope with stress. Stress won’t disappear in your life, nor should it. We all enjoy the positive stressors in our lives. Without them our lives would be stale and boring – and yet they require that we learn how to effectively deal with the physical psychological symptoms of stress to enable us to fully enjoy the outcomes.


HelpGuide: Stress Symptoms, Signs and Causes

Harvard Public Health: How Stress Harms your Physical and psychological Health

MayoClinic: Stress Symptoms

The American Institute of Stress: 50 Common Signs and Symptoms

World Psychiatry: The Long Term Costs of Traumatic Stress

PsychCentral: The Physical Effects of Long-term stress

American Psychological Association: Impact of Stress

National Cancer Insitute: Psycholgoical Stress and Cancer

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