Our minds are made to handle a lot of stress – we’re built to be able to withstand stressful situations. However, when we come under a lot of stress on a constant basis, that’s when problems can arise. The fact is that study after study has shown that high levels of stress on a constant basis, such as from a job that comes with a lot of pressure, or an upsetting situation at home, can make mental health problems more likely. There is a link between stress and mental health, but it’s not exactly clear cut – there are a lot of ins and outs to it. Want to learn more about the link between excessive stress and mental health problems like OCD, anxiety, depression, and schizophrenia? Then read on, as all is about to be revealed.
Does stress automatically lead to mental health problems?
Despite the fact that stress can, in some instances, cause mental health problems, it’s important to realize that it doesn’t automatically cause them. In some instances, stress can be a contributing factor to why a person develops an anxiety disorder, for instance, but that doesn’t mean high levels of stress will always lead to mental health problems. The fact is that being under pressure is a normal part of life – it can drive us to work harder, be more productive, and reach our goals. Problems arise when you begin to feel overwhelmed by stress.
Is stress the only factor linked to mental health issues?
Stress isn’t the only cause linked to mental health problems. Most conditions, such as schizophrenia, are also linked to genetics, brain structure, neurotransmitters, and triggers, one of which is stress, but there are also others like drugs and alcohol, for instance. A lot of mental health problems also have different levels, so for instance, there are different types of schizophrenia, ranging from mild to severe. If someone becomes withdrawn, doesn’t want to socialize, and struggles with the day to day aspects of lift, but isn’t having delusions, then it may be mild schizophrenia, instead of a more severe level of this condition. Sometimes, more mild version of a condition are linked to stress, whereas more severe ones are caused by other factors, although this isn’t always the case.
Can stress make existing mental health problems worse?
Studies have shown that stress can excavate existing mental health problems, making them worse. For instance, say you suffer from depression, studies have shown that when your stress levels are high thanks to a hectic job, family problems, money worries, or something else, it can make your depression worse. The same applies to other mental health problems, from OCD and anxiety to bipolar disorder. So if you suffer from an existing mental health problem, it’s important to keep your stress levels to a minimum by having an outlet for stress such as jogging, practicing yoga, or doing a calming activity like reading, adult coloring, or completing brain puzzles.
There is a link between stress and mental health, but it’s not a clear-cut one and is tends to differ from person to person.
Ally Gonzales is the founder & editor-in-chief of RunningSoleGirl. Along with blogging she is also juggling attending college and majoring in Exercise and Sports Science with a Sports Management minor.