Is stress dangerous?

by rodney on May 5, 2014

stressed alcoholLast time we looked at what stress is. A lot of people become blasé when we talk about stress so this time, I wanted to let you know just how dangerous stress can be.

But first, I wanted to share with a story. I was counselling a guy over the phone. He started the call with, “I can’t cope anymore, and I’m going to kill myself.” It turned out that he had a box of pills that he was going to take with a bottle alcohol, that way he could go to sleep forever and not have to worry anymore.

I began to talk to him about what was happening in his life. He had several demands from work, family and other areas of his life that were causing massive amounts of stress. He’s attitude was to just get on with it and therefore he had been struggling with stress for years. It had finally got to a point where the only resolution he could see was to kill himself.

Many of you may think this is an extreme case and not applicable to most people, but this happens more than you think. If you’re sitting there thinking that stress is not dangerous, you’re deluding yourself.

Stress makes it hard for us to control our emotions. When we can’t control our emotions, we can’t function at a normal cognitive level. We find it difficult to make logical decisions and tend to make hasty snap decisions. We are also prone to taking dangerous risks in this state. Imagine attempting to drive when we can’t function at a normal cognitive level? Many fatal accidents happen when stressed.

Stress also has negative effects to our lifestyle which can also be harmful and dangerous. Many people who are struggling with stress often resort to forms of self-medication, such as using food, alcohol, prescription and illicit drugs to cope. These lead to many potentially fatal issues such as obesity, diabetes, sorosis and fatal overdoses.

Stress can also have various health issues. Stress hormones increase your heart rate and constricts blood vessels, this damages your heart, causing heart disease. Heart disease then leads heart attacks and strokes. Stress can also weaken your immune system making you more susceptible to various diseases ranging from colds and flus to allergies and even Alzheimer’s. Stress has also been linked to cancer and lung disease.

Every year, millions of people die from stress related illnesses and conditions. Now that you know what stress is and just how dangerous it can be, next we’ll look at how you can manage and alleviate stress.

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