Psychiatrist Warns Destructive Effects Of Stress On The Brain




While others are considering stress as part of daily living and is something that should just be powered through, psychiatrists say otherwise. There are a couple of things that occur when your brain experiences stress and they are alarmingly scary.


When anxiety and stress get out of hand, your brain takes a lot of beating. How bad does it take?


Stress Increases Your Risk For Depression

Constructing on previous research that realizes habitual stress prevents the creation of neurons inside the brain’s hippocampus, scientists at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) have conducted studies on mice.These scientists have found out that if put under increasing and endless amounts of stress, brain neurons weren’t formed and the brain was unable to regenerate. More importantly, the brain exhibited symptoms leaning towards depression.


The scientists concluded that the findings are congruent with the thought that depression is brought about by stress, and exposure to stressful occurrences can precipitate the condition. Ben Martin, Psy.D. stated that, “Such stressful events may include a serious loss, a difficult relationship, trauma, or financial problems.”




Stress Disables Proper Learning Function

Inside the hippocampus, there lie the neural stem cells. Neural stem cells are structures that become neurons and are responsible for memory and learning. However, when chronic stress is experienced, neural stem cells are instead transformed into oligodendrocytes that cover myelin. Myelin is an insulator that, when in excess, perturbs the harmony of timing and communication along the circuitry of the brain, altering connection of neurons with one another. This finding is based on the study conducted by Berkeley’s University of California.


Conclusively, these abnormal changes upset cognitive function, which includes emotional and mental well-being and acquisition of information. Consequential alterations happening during myelination have caused neurological problems that potentially contribute to mental illnesses such as depression, PTSD, and anxiety.


Stress Is A Catalyst For Stroke

Increased stress levels increase a person’s risk to develop stroke. In a survey provided to a number of different adults, which involved questions about mental factors like depression and stress, it was found that people who were chronically stressed have undergone a transient ischemic attack (TIA) or what is also known as stroke. Some of the reasons for chronic stress would be money, relationships, vices, eating habits, and unhealthy lifestyle. Psychological attributes are equitably essential as much as conventional risk factors like cholesterol, blood pressure, and so on.


Stress Shrinks The Brain

Life events that induce anxiety including family problems, death, divorce, or financial instability can significantly affect the grey matter located at the medial prefrontal layer of the brain that is responsible for handling emotions and self-control, researchers at Yale University stated in 2012. The aggregation of life’s stressors creates a more challenging scenario for individuals to deal with impending situations that create stress.




Calming The Stress Down A Notch

While stress is unavoidable, it can be dealt with effectively. How can you calm the storm within that does much damage to the brain?


  1. Exercise

Many great things have been said regarding exercise. If you’re not a fan of doing rigorous activities for the sake of healthier brain function, you can opt for simple solutions like walking for 30 minutes or so, daily. Experts consider exercise as an effective stress-buster that can offset destructive brain responses and lessen neural impairment. According to Sarah Gingell Ph.D.  “The idea that physical exercise might do something really fundamental for mental health is less immediately obvious—especially given the Western distinction between “mind” and “body” that implies mental and physical health can be separated.”


  1. Sleep

This cannot be emphasized enough but sleeping at least six hours a day is really helpful for warding off stress and promoting proper brain activity. Sleep is essential in controlling stress hormones so stick to your sleep plan and make your room more conducive. According to Jann Gumbiner Ph.D.  “ Sleep has restorative power and evidence shows that sleep enhances memory and improves attention. Sleep is not an option. It is essential.”


  1. Know That Stress Is Reversible

You can shoo away stress from your life; this is a fact that you have to remember. All you need to do is identify what stresses you out and do something about it for your brain to generate new neurons normally.


By realizing that stress is reversible and that the brain can naturally recover from painful experiences, it now depends on you to make positive changes in your life to beat impending consequences caused by stress.