- Long-term stress is often a contributing factor in many of the leading causes of death in the United States, including heart disease, cancer, lung disease, accidents, cirrhosis of the liver and suicide.
- High stress levels can often also lead to substance use. When stress is high and a person is desperate to relax, they may turn to alcohol and other drugs. Paradoxically, drugs and alcohol often increase stress in the long run, especially if an individual develops addiction or dependence.
- The stress prognosis is based on factors like the source, intensity and duration of stress. It may also be affected by an individual’s available coping skills and social support systems. When stress is high and available coping skills are low, the effects of stress are more likely, which can shorten someone’s lifespan.
- Stress treatment can add a tremendous amount of coping skills and supports to a person in a stressful environment. The best success will occur when treatment targets the source of stress directly, rather than the side effects of stress.
According to the American Institute of Stress:
- About 33 percent of people report feeling extreme stress
- 77 percent of people experience stress that affects their physical health
- 73 percent of people have stress that impacts their mental health
- 48 percent of people have trouble sleeping because of stress
- Unfortunately, for about half of all Americans, levels of stress are getting worse instead of better.
- Up to 80 percent of workplace accidents come from stress or stress-related problems, like being too distracted or tired.
Common Symptoms of Stress
The most common symptoms of stress and the percentage of people who experienced them include:
- Irritability and anger: 45 percent of people
- Fatigue or low energy: 41 percent
- Lack of motivation or interest in things: 38 percent
- Anxiety, nervousness or worry: 36 percent
- Headaches: 36 percent
- Feeling sad or depressed: 34 percent
- Indigestion, acid reflux or upset stomach: 26 percent
- Muscle tension: 23 percent