The Psychological and Mental Effects of Stress

Aside from the physical effects, there are psychological and mental reactions to stress:

  • Anxiety, acute or chronic
  • Depression (especially when stress is chronic)
  • Anger, hostility and rage
  • Irritability
  • Decreased concentration and memory

When people feel stressed, they generally experience fear or anxiety. Others respond by getting angry at the cause or perceived cause of stress. In addition, numerous studies have shown these emotions increase the risk of heart problems.

Finally, stress, especially the chronic variety and its associated symptoms and reactions, leads to behaviors to cope with stress, and often those coping measures increase stress. We end up caught in a vicious cycle. Here are some ways we don’t want to handle stress:

  • Overworking
  • Overeating
  • Isolation
  • Inactivity
  • Lack of sleep
  • Exhaustion
  • Addiction to substances such as drugs, alcohol, cigarettes and caffeine