Effects of Mental Distress on Your Body

Posted On Tuesday, 02 April 2019
Effects of Mental Distress on Your Body

Mental distress not only wreaks havoc on your mind, it can negatively affect your physical health.

When your mind is suffering, your body suffers with it, making it essential that you seek proper professional help when mental distress becomes a chronic condition. Here are some of the main effects that mental distress can have on your body.

Cardiovascular Problems
Blood pressure often rises when dealing with mental distress, which can put greater strain on your heart and exacerbate hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis). In some cases, a sudden onset of intense stress can even cause a heart attack or stroke. According to Heart.org, another way that mental distress can be bad for your heart is that it may cause you to engage in unhealthy behaviors such as smoking, indulging in unhealthy foods or drinking alcohol more often. Whether the damage is coming from the inside or out, prolonged mental stress should be avoided and treated where necessary.

Bad for Skin
If your skin isn’t looking its best, prolonged mental distress may be to blame. Negative emotions can trigger skin problems such as acne, rosacea and psoriasis. Some people even break out in hives in times of intense emotional and mental distress. Another adverse side effect that you might experience is an itching sensation that causes you to scratch more often and damage your skin. Nervous ticks such as these tend to accompany anxiety, and chronic anxiety is most often caused by hormone production imbalances in the brain that typically require medicated treatments to stabilize.

Dental Problems
Excessive teeth gritting or grinding can be an indicator of emotional stress. Grinding or gritting your teeth can wear away at the enamel and cause chips or cracks in your teeth to form and may even result in tooth loss. Gritting by itself is less likely to cause chips in the tooth, but the strain of supporting the intense strength of your jaw against itself can damage the nerve connections to your teeth, potentially leading to the death of the tooth.

This may be especially problematic while sleeping, as prolonged stress often results in gritting and grinding during that night that you can’t simply notice and stop. If you have a tendency to grit or grind your teeth, on top of addressing the source of your distress, it’s also important that you have your teeth looked at by a dentist and possibly get a mouth guard for sleeping to ensure that your teeth don’t take on irreparable damage. Getting a mouth guard can also prevent severe strain on your jaw caused by gritting and grinding.

Hair Loss
Both women and men are prone to hair loss when mental distress levels are high. Your body’s immune system may start attacking hair follicles, which can lead to temporary or permanent hair loss. Trichotillomania, or hair pulling, causes hair follicles to enter into a resting phase and makes the hair fall out and is another condition that can occur when mental anguish is prolonged. In this case, even if the hair isn’t pulled free when tugged, it does make the hair more likely to come free later on when pulled, brushed, washed, or even to fall free of its own accord.

Learning how to cope better with mental distress can keep you physically healthy and help you avoid many unpleasant side effects. Getting treatment from the right professionals is a great way to keep your mental anguish better in check. If you have a chronic case of mental distress, whether in the form of anxiety, depression, agitation, or others, it is essential for the health of your whole body and mind that you seek the appropriate help.

Meghan Belnap

Meghan Belnap is a freelance writer who enjoys spending time with her family. She loves being in the outdoors and exploring new opportunities whenever they arise. Meghan finds happiness in researching new topics that help to expand her horizons. You can often find her buried in a good book or out looking for an adventure. You can connect with her on Facebook right here and Twitter right here.

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