5 Health Effects of Chronic Stress

Man holds head in hands, suffering from chronic stress

Stress isn’t just difficult to handle at the moment – chronic stress can have lasting negative effects on your overall health and wellness.

At Nugent Family Counseling, we’re here to support you through stressful seasons like the holidays. Talk to a member of our team, led by Dr. Geoff Nugent, through one of our locations in San Jose, California, Los Gatos, California, and Reno, Nevada.

Here are some of the negative health effects of stress you should know about as we send off the old year and prepare for the new one.

1. Elevated cortisol levels

When you’re stressed out, your body naturally reacts in “fight or flight” mode, increasing production of the stress hormone cortisol to help you react quickly to a sudden crisis. In a crisis situation when you need to be able to react immediately, cortisol benefits you. However, increased cortisol can also cause emotional and physical issues over the long run.

2. Headaches

Living with chronic stress keeps your body under tension. As a result, you may suffer from frequent headaches. A headache coming on may indicate that you need to find ways to relax. And, if you have persistent headaches, looking at potential stress issues may be a good way to reduce headache incidence.

3. Nausea and digestive issues

When we’re stressed, we talk about feeling sick to our stomach, having a knot in our stomach, or having a knot in our throat. Those feelings aren’t simply imaginary. Chronic stress can produce sensations of nausea and other digestive issues like diarrhea.

4. Sleep disturbances and insomnia

Stress during the day seems like it should earn you a good night’s sleep. However, the reverse is often true. Being under regular stress can interrupt your sleep, or leave you struggling with insomnia, as your body finds it difficult to shut down and relax fully.

5. Addiction and substance abuse

People with chronically high stress levels are at risk of turning to self-medication with drugs and alcohol. Stress can negatively impact your ability to make decisions. What seemed like a good idea at the time might have detrimental effects on your physical health, personal relationships, and even your professional career.

You don’t have to suffer from the negative health and wellness impacts related to chronic stress. Get in touch with the team at Nugent Family Counseling for effective stress management support, including strategies for handling stressful situations, as well as ways to rest, relax, and recover from chronic stress.

To learn more about how we can help you avoid the negative health and personal consequences of chronic or acute stress, schedule your appointment over the phone today, or request an appointment with our online booking tool