10 Symptoms of Stress

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Stress is a serious problem for many people. It contributes to a number of life-threatening illnesses, such as heart disease and cancer, and accounts for 75 to 90 percent of all medical and psychological doctor visits, according to Robert Simon Siegel, MS, CEO and founder of Global Optimal Health Group. Find out if your symptoms could be stress related.

Tension

Stress can shows up as physical symptoms such as tension in the muscles of the head, neck, shoulders and other areas. Stress activates the "fight or flight" mechanism, causing the muscles to contract in anticipation of the need to flee. Massages and baths can help relieve muscular tension.

Anxiety

Anxiety releases the hormone adrenaline, which super-charges the body for action. Anxiety can make you feel jittery or give you a buzzing feeling or "butterflies" in the stomach. It can also be much more intense, like a feeling of being smothered, in the case of an anxiety attack. Anxiety can be relieved by relaxation techniques and, in some cases, anti-anxiety medication.

Irritability

Irritability can occur when the adrenaline rush of stress is over. An irritable person is easily angered and lashes out unpredictably. Irritability can cause mood swings from hyperactive to morose.

Headache

The muscular tension, release of adrenaline and subsequent barrage of chemicals can affect the blood vessels in the brain. Doctors believe changes in brain chemicals are to blame for most tension headaches.

Insomnia

Insomnia is the inability to fall asleep or stay asleep. Stress can cause the mind to race, hampering its ability to relax and allow the sleep center to take over. Secondary insomnia is the term used to describe sleep problems that occur due to a primary reason such as a medical condition, mental health issue or stress.

Inability To Concentrate

Mental problems are a major symptom of stress. With all the racing thoughts, raging chemicals and physiological changes, it may be hard to concentrate on tasks or remember details.

Digestive Issues

Stress and anxiety can often cause digestive problems such as irritable bowel syndrome, diarrhea, nausea and abdominal pain. Digestive problems are often the first sign of stress in young children.

Fatigue

Feeling tired, weary, exhausted or even depressed can indicate undue stress. Adrenal exhaustion is often associated with high levels of stress. Prolonged bouts of stress can result in an imbalance of the normal interactions of the body's systems and produce fatigue.

Chest Pain

Unexplained chest pain can be frightening. Stress chest pains can mimic the pain of a heart attack, sending many people to the emergency room. When tests turn up nothing abnormal, the pain is usually attributed to stress, although many times the specific causes are unknown.

Eating Disorders

Eating disorders, such as binging and anorexia, can also indicate a high level of stress. Eating too much or too little are ways some people use to help them feel in control of their circumstances. However, eating disorders, like stress, can become life-threatening if not addressed.

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