How to Recognize Unhealthy Reaction to Stress

By: Michael Lam, MD, MPH

It is impossible to avoid stress in our livesWho suffers from Stress? We all do in one way or another. The levels of stress can vary depending on a person’s age, gender, relationship status, and social stature. A person will endure a certain amount of Stress on a daily basis. The body is made to handle it short-term but long-term it can cause a person to become susceptible to future health problems.

The Bodies Reaction to Stress

The body reacts differently to stress. One of the major systems that are triggered is the Nervous system. Long-term stress can lead a person to an unhealthy road to depression. The Endocrine system is a problem because this can cause someone to be at serious risk for type 2 Diabetes. Long-term stress can lead to other problems such as: respiratory problems, heart problems, and can cause harm to an unborn child. If a woman suffers from large amounts of stress while pregnant, studies have shown that her child may develop health problems later on in life as a result.

Stress can cause a person to lose weight and gain weight. The term “comfort foods” originated from the fatty foods a person will consume while they are under stress. This is caused by the hormone that is released during stress and leads to bad food choices and overeating.


Behavior changes will cause the happy-go-lucky person to turn into an angry depressed anti-social type. This shift in behavior has been referred to as the “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” syndrome. These changes will not only affect your personal life but can have a major impact on the way you perform at work.

Keep a Journal

Your Doctor may ask that you keep a journal and record the short-term stress caused by your daily activities. This is often used in stress management because it will allow an individual to determine what causes the stress in their life and how to manage it. Stress can be eliminated by a simple little change to your daily routine. A person can lower their level of stress by making simple life changes and making more time for you.

Other Ideas

Meditation is a great way to relieve stress because it allows a person to completely unwind. “Laughter is the best medicine”. Studies have shown that laughter improves your immune system and also helps to reduce stress. The next time you feel stressed, surround yourself with the people you love and have a good chuckle. It’s good for you!

© Copyright 2012 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.

It is impossible to avoid stress in our lives