This is the second part of How Financial Difficulties Can Make You Sick. Click here to read the first part of this article.
Health Problems That Financial Pressure Can Cause
Let’s look at the ‘fight or flight’ syndrome. This is the response that happens in a stressful situation that poses a danger to your body. Increased amounts of adrenaline are produced and it shoots through your system to your extremities. The muscles are ready; the pupils are dilated; you are ready to either fight or flee in a hurry.
The body is not meant to exist in this heightened state for long periods of time. Besides adrenaline, cortisol is also produced. This hormone is one that increases belly fat. And we all know that increased belly fat is an indicator for heart disease risk.
With prolonged stressful situations, the body remains in a state of high alert. This can lead to physical changes that contribute to a variety of illnesses. It is not easy to fight back when anxiety has you in its grip. Keep reading to find out what your body could be in for when financial stresses affect your life.
It has many names and many variations: the seasonal blues and the blahs, to name a few. We are referring to clinical depression. Prolonged stress that is not handled well can send our emotions into a downward spiral.
Depression can have some genetic components but it is also affected by stress. Changes in the body can bring about chemical imbalances in neurotransmitter production in the brain, leading to clinical depression. There are people walking around right now who are clinically depressed but deny the fact, believing that it will pass.
This state can also be brought on by fear of the unknown. Creditor calls each day can fuel the feeling that there is no hope for your situation. Without treatment, this can lead to desperate acts such as suicide or psychotic episodes.
It is not uncommon for those suffering from high levels of chronic stress to experience frequent headaches. Worries and adrenalin rushes can lead to hypertension or high blood pressure. Constriction of blood vessels can lead to throbbing pain in the head.
People who previously didn’t have headaches may now be experiencing severe migraines. These are more advanced headaches that can lead to blackouts, sensitivities to light and sound, and sharp stabbing pains behind the eyes or across the forehead. Migraines have been known to cause nausea and vomiting.
There have been reports written about the benefits of sleep. When the body is at rest, it shuts down all non-vital systems so it can repair itself. For the average person, eight hours of sleep is recommended each night for the body to recover from the day’s activities.
When we skimp on our sleep we create a sleep debt. Just like financial debt, it can get out of control. There are not enough hours in the day to recoup the lost sleep. If you try to catch up on the weekend you could feel you are sleeping your life away.
With financial stress, insomnia can create a further sleep deficit. The mind needs time to unwind before you go to sleep at night. If you’ve ever noticed, you don’t always fall asleep right away. You replay the day’s events like a recording. Once the tape stops playing you can rest.
The tape never stops playing when you are under duress. Your mind constantly keeps rolling and replaying your fears, anxieties and the object of your woes. Some people barely get any sleep because they always reliving their worst.
Lack of sleep can affect the waking hours as well. People begin to hallucinate, become irritable, suffer from paranoia, depression and hypertension. After several days without sleep you may feel the same effects in your body as a person who is under the influence of alcohol.
No one ever knows what they will do when faced with a financial dilemma. We would all like to think that we’d be able to bear up under the stress, but no one really knows. More often than not we are not ready for the onslaught and our coping mechanisms are inadequate to the task.
Alcohol abuse is not uncommon for those who have been dealt a financial blow. But, it is a vicious cycle. Alcohol is a depressant. Instead of making you forget your worries, you actually relive them. To stop the pain you drink even more.
Gambling is often a habit that is born out of desperation. It is said that addictive personalities are more likely to be susceptible to gambling problems. For those in financial dilemmas it seems to be an answer, a quick fix, for the short-term need for money. But, you can rack up more financial problems by adding gambling debts to the pile.
Smoking is also an addictive behavior that can result from financial pressures. Cigarette smoke can affect the elasticity of blood vessels, contributing to hypertension and heart disease. This is in addition to the hundreds of harmful chemicals you are allowing to enter your lungs with each puff.
It is cheap to eat poorly. That is just a fact. When money gets tight, people buy what they can afford and not necessarily what they should be eating. Over time, poor eating habits can affect the blood sugar, the heart and the kidneys.
But obesity is an issue in another way. Some people are emotional eaters. Stressful situations like financial problems can cause overeating as a way to cope with the pressure. Eating comfort foods actually releases feel-good endorphins in the brain, prompting you to eat more. The added weight increases health problems and does nothing to solve the financial issue.
To be concluded on Part 3 of How Financial Difficulties Can Make You Sick…