Chronic Stress can put your health at risk

Chronic Stress and Anxiety

Feeling stressed at times is normal, but many people experience high levels of chronic stress that can overload the body and create anxiety. Stress isn’t just mental and emotional; physical and environmental stress can keep you in a negative cycle of chronic stress, which compromises your health in many ways.

Do you wake up each day with low energy?

Do you notice that small hiccups in your day seem to set you off and can cause your heart to pound or trigger feelings of anxiety?

Do you notice that you get colds more often and always feel like you’re just trying to get through your day.

Does your mind race at night?

These are all symptoms of chronic stress and anxiety which typically point to serious underlying health imbalances.

What is Chronic Stress?

Chronic stress has become an epidemic and is one of the most common complaints reported to primary care physicians. The way your body experiences stress is much more complicated than most people realize. The stress response is a complex system that involves the brain, nervous system, and adrenal glands.  This is called the HPA (hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal) axis. When the brain perceives a stress, it signals the adrenals to make cortisol and the neurotransmitters norepinephrine and epinephrine (adrenaline). Optimal cortisol levels are highest in the morning to help us wake up start the day and lowest in the evening to promote sleep. Long term stress leads to chronic activation of the HPA axis, which disrupts the cortisol rhythm as well as other hormones including DHEA, melatonin, and even insulin.

Nearly every organ including the gut, brain, thyroid, and male and female reproductive system can be impacted, leading to a multitude of symptoms – including emotional and cognitive issues like anxiety.

Symptoms of Chronic Stress

When under chronic stress, people often feel “wired, but tired,” experience palpitations, anxiety, difficulties sleeping, body aches, digestive complaints, muscle pain, headaches, unexplained weight loss or weight gain, low libido, thyroid imbalances, poor exercise tolerance and recovery, brain fog, and cravings for salt and sugar.

Damage Caused by Chronic Stress

Cortisol, which is a hormone associated with the stress response, increases blood sugar and over time can lead to insulin resistance or pre-diabetes. The immune system becomes suppressed, allowing for chronic inflammation and increased susceptibility to infections.

Causes of Chronic Stress

Chronic stress can be due to a multitude of things, including lack of sleep, a diet high in processed and junk foods, food sensitivities that trigger inflammation, consuming too many stimulants like caffeine and sugar, a rigorous work schedule, emotional trauma from unhealthy relationships or other life stressors and losses, over training during exercise, loneliness and social isolation, and lack of recreation and creative outlets.

Chronic internal stress (usually to blame for anxiety) can also be caused by certain biological imbalances that are typically not addressed by conventional practitioners. This included dealing with gut health as it relates to gut bacteria balances as well as issues with hormones.

The Functional Medicine Approach

With the chronic stress cycle, functional medicine acknowledges the multi-factorial causes, from lifestyle factors including poor food choices and food sensitivities, systemic imbalances like gut and hormones, or potentially other factors like a variety of emotional traumas that haven’t healed. Exposure to environmental toxins and even stealth infections are two other considerations that are typically over-looked by conventionally trained practitioners.

Treatments for Chronic Stress

When it comes to chronic stress, it’s important to work with a functional medicine practitioner who follows a truly holistic and inclusive approach while running the correct testing to determine areas of deficiency or imbalance.

Once you receive the results from your comprehensive testing, we  pair this with a  personalized healing protocol that also includes the important lifestyle changes needed to break the chronic stress cycle.

If you have been experiencing symptoms relating to chronic stress or anxiety, schedule an appointment with the Mood Restoration Institute today!

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Perhaps you have questions you’d like to ask before you make a decision to become a patient. Our patient coordinator is standing by, happy to answer any questions you have to determine if Mood Restoration Institute is right for you.

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