The Impact of Stress on Health Research Paper


When the alarm goes off every morning, that’s when the realization of having to face the challenges that will be ahead kicks in. While walking into school holding the math notes you wrote the week before and reviewing them for the math test next period, you notice that you have forgotten your secret weapon, a calculator. All of the sudden, the common symptoms of stress, also known as the “fight or flight” response emerges. The ducts of sweat glands open and sweat starts dripping down while your pulse consequently starts to skyrocket. Stress is the human body’s way of protection by having you react quickly to the danger that could be introduced. Day after day, the reasons why you get stressed starts to pile up whether it’s from things like not knowing the answer to the question the teacher asked or being stuck in traffic on the way to school. After all, a poll shown from an article written by the American Psychological Association in 2007 shows that one third of Americans are living with extreme stress. Nevertheless, that was over 13 years ago so the statistics surely have different numbers. Stress has a negative impact on human health because it affects us physically, mentally, and behaviorally. 

The most frequently exhibited side effects of stress are physical. Physical symptoms are typically displayed through symptoms such as headaches, muscle tensions or pains, chest pains, stomach pains, sleeping problems, and high blood pressure. The chest pains mostly consist of numerous heart problems like heart disease, heartburn, having an increased chance of getting heart attacks, and having a pounding heart. Medical News Today, a medical information based website and news outlet, published an article called “Why stress happens and how to manage it”, emphasizing how stress can slow down bodily functions like the performance of the digestive and immune system. Not only that, but the article also said how an individual who doesn’t have a way of coping may have a greater likelihood of developing one of the health problems.

Mental illness and emotional damage often occur from the interactions of abuse or some other traumatic event. Stress is also one of the elements of emotional and mental problems today. Stress affecting an individual's well-being is characterized through being anxious, feeling restless, being overwhelmed, being angered, being sad, or having a lack of motivation. The ADAA (Anxiety & Depression Association of America) shows that 40 million adults alone in the United States suffer with anxiety while the World Health Organization calculated that there are over 264 million people worldwide who suffer from depression which could both often lead to suicide. That just helps portray that often being stressed can have an extremely negative influence on one’s welfare.

Behavioral wise, there could also be a generous amount of changes. Stress can lead to not eating regularly whether that's overeating or undereating, having angry outbursts, socially withdrawing, exercising less often, or misusing drugs and alcohol. Not eating properly could cause other health risks and increase the likelihood of certain medical conditions while withdrawal from close ones could lead to many mental illnesses. The misuse of drugs and alcohol can also lead to health problems and even death. Statistics on the consumption of drugs and alcohol have increased rapidly since the early 2000’s. 

In conclusion, stress affects health negatively in a plethora of ways whether it’s physically, mentally, or behaviorally. However, there are things to do to prevent stress from being permanently damaging. Harvard Health Publishing released an article in 2018 called “Protect your brain from stress”. Included were tips on coping with stress to minimize worsening factors which include getting a good night’s sleep, getting organized, establishing control over the situation, changing attitude towards stress, and seeking help if needed. There is nothing shameful about being stressed and trying to find a way to manage it because it’s more preferable rather than suffering from long term problems. Stress is essential to life, making it inevitable, but it could just mean the path of getting one step closer to your goal.

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