There are many people who struggle with stress management or the negative effects of stress. Learn to spot the signs and what you can do to manage.

10 Common Negative Effects of Stress

Stress can stretch you thin. More than eight million American adults report feeling serious psychological distress. That’s probably an underestimate of how many people feel chronic stress. 

Stress is overwhelming because there are many negative effects of stress. Each person’s experience is different, and anyone suffering from stress should get help. But there are some signs you can look for. 

What are the adverse effects of stress on the mind? How does stress impact the body? What behaviors do people with stress perform? 

Answer these questions and you can get treatment for all of the effects of stress. Here are ten of them.  


1. Feeling Agitated

Many emotions are tied to bad stress. If a person cannot overcome a task, they become frustrated. They can become angry, screaming or performing violent gestures. 

Other people feel troubled and nervous. They may start to cry and become despondent over what is happening. 

Many people have difficulty expressing their emotions. They may feel that they are being unprofessional by being so emotional. This only makes their feelings worse, as they can’t find catharsis. 

2. Loss of Self-Esteem 

A person may feel bad about themselves. If they cannot overcome one task, they may assume that they cannot overcome other ones.

They may take responsibility for something that is not their fault. They may read into a situation, assuming that a small mistake is a major error. 

Someone can assume that they are feeling stress on their own. This can cause them to withdraw from personal relationships, which makes their low self-esteem worse. 

3. Poor Judgement 

Some people try to put off a task that is causing them stress. This may make the stress worse.

Other people bury themselves in other tasks. They visit the best online casinos of 2021, and they start gambling to alleviate their stress. Gambling can develop into an addiction that they engage in every time they feel stress. 

4. Headaches

Tension headaches occur when muscles in the head and neck tense up. People often tense their muscles in response to stress. Working at a desk for a long period of time can also pull on the muscles and create a headache. 

Pain can start around the top of the head and radiate outward. Some people report feeling pain behind their eyes, while others feel pain at the base of their neck. The pain can cause a person to feel more stressed. 

On rare occasions, stress can induce a migraine. A person feels intense pain along with waves of nausea, which can result in vomiting. They may see things that are not there, like sparkles or dots. 

5. Insomnia

Stressors can cause a person to lose sleep. Some people lie in bed, but they do not fall asleep because of their racing thoughts.

Other people manage to fall asleep, only to wake up at night. They may have had nightmares about their stress, or they may start thinking about things they need to do. 

Any stress that causes change to a sleep schedule can cause insomnia. Someone may take on a new job that requires them to work later. This can confuse the circadian rhythm, preventing a person from falling asleep on time.

6. Heart Disease 

When a person feels stress, their heart begins to beat faster. One or two moments of stress will not induce major problems, but continuous stress can put pressure on a person’s arteries. A 2020 study found that patients who report feeling stress have worse blood pressure rates. 

Heart disease is a stressful condition to deal with on its own terms. It can cause a feedback loop that pronounces the negative effects of stress.

7. Changes in Appetite

Some people are so stressed out that they forget to eat. With enough time, this habit can cause them to lose a large amount of weight. They may harm their digestive system, as suddenly eating meals can cause indigestion. 

Other people use food as a means to cope with stress. Stress eating can cause significant weight gain and heart problems. 

8. Suicidal Thoughts

Dealing with stress can be overwhelming. Some people may be tempted to die by suicide so they don’t have to deal with stress. 

Even one moment of profound stress can lead to a suicide attempt. This is especially the case for family stressors like the loss of a loved one. 

9. Substance Abuse Disorders

Drugs can seem like an easy solution to stress. Heroin, opioids, and psychedelics can induce positive emotions in little time. A person may feel like they can talk to others while they are drunk. 

The more a person consumes drugs in response to stress, the more that they can become addicted. Once they develop an addiction, they have a new source of stress.

Their drugs may stop working, causing them to use more or develop new addictions. They may develop health problems, including brain damage and heart disease. 

10. Nervous Behaviors

Most nervous ticks are benign. A person may fidget with their hair or a pen. 

But other ticks can cause negative health effects. Grinding one’s teeth can strain muscles in the jaw and knock teeth out of place. Nail-biting can cause a skin infection and crack a person’s teeth. 

The Ten Negative Effects of Stress

Negative effects of stress start with the mind. Someone may feel agitated and overwhelmed. They may lose confidence in themselves, and they make bad decisions. 

But stress can impact the body. A person may feel headaches, including migraines.

They may start to lose sleep and develop high blood pressure. They can eat less or more, and each has its own effects. 

Some people may develop suicidal thoughts or substance abuse disorders. Some nervous behaviors are fine, but others can be damaging. 

You deserve to know everything about your mental health. Follow our coverage for more psychology guides. 

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