Stress Causes Psychological Problems
Mood and Emotions
When acute stress strikes, your emotions are immediately affected. The reaction varies depending on a person's temperament and the perceived intensity of the stress. But it's never a happy time. Some combination of anger, irritability, anxiety and depression usually result from a bad day at work or an interpersonal struggle.
Your feel-good neurotransmitters are in short supply when you are feeling stressed. When levels of serotonin and dopamine drop, Your mood is altered. If the stress is a long-term challenge, you are more likely to develop depression or anxiety the longer you deal with it. Again, our ability to adapt to stress varies terrifically from one individual to the next, so the duration and intensity of chronic stress are not the only predictors of your mental-health consequences.
Is Your Reaction Making Things Worse?
Stress can bring out the worst behaviors you have. You may try to self-medicate, get revenge on a perceived opponent, or take other actions that you know are harmful. When you react to stress by overeating, undereating, smoking more, abusing drugs or alcohol, or acting out aggressively, the satisfaction may be real, but fleeting. In the long run, you are simply adding new stressors to the equation. (Be sure to discover more constructive coping mechanisms in Chapters 14 through 18.)