Stress: Signs and Symptoms, Causes and Effects

Chronic stress 
The grinding stress that wears people down day after day and year after year is chronic stress. It destroys bodies, minds, and lives. It's the relentless stress of poverty, dysfunctional families, or despised jobs. The people of Northern Ireland, Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union, and the Middle East live with the chronic stress engendered by their endless troubles. If you are experiencing chronic stress, you can't figure out how to alleviate a miserable situation that seems to go on for an interminable period of time. Devoid of hope, you stop searching for solutions.
Some chronic stress stems from traumatic, early childhood experiences that change the brain and become internalized, remaining forever present and painful. These experiences can affect personality profoundly. You create a belief system or view of the world that causes you constant stress.
The worst aspect of chronic stress is that you get used to it. You forget it's there and learn to endure it.
Why should you learn to cope with stress?
In the best of all possible worlds, when a stressful situation ends, hormonal signals switch off the stress response, and the body returns to normal. Unfortunately, stress doesn't always let up. If you tend to harbor anxiety, and you worry about daily events and relationships, your stress response never shuts down. Studies show that long-term activation of stress symptoms can have a hazardous, even lethal effect on your body. When the signs of stress persist, you are at risk for many health problems that people often do not realize are, in large part, attributable to stress, such as:
obesity ,heart disease ,cancer ,depression ,anorexia nervosa or malnutrition ,obsessive-compulsive or anxiety disorder ,substance abuse ulcers ,diabetes ,sexual abuse ,hyperthyroidism ,hair loss ,tooth and gum disease
As if this weren't enough, stress adversely affects reproduction, sexual behavior, and growth. Stress inhibits the immune system, making you more vulnerable to colds, flu, fatigue and infections. It causes digestive problems and can even lead to suicide. For all these reasons, it is important to recognize the symptoms of stress and learn what to do about them. Fortunately, recent years have brought increased societal awareness and a greater understanding of factors that limit and relieve stress.



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