Stress Effects on the Brain

Stress is a normal part of life, and there is no way to truly eliminate it completely. Stress can come in different forms and provide its own set of symptoms for each person. Too much stress, however, can harm our lives. AFC Urgent Care Malden is dedicated to improving the overall health of all of our patients. That is why we provide resources for living healthy lives. Call or visit us today to receive information. 

Increased Risk of Mental Illness

Researchers have found that chronic stress results in long-term changes in the brain. They found that stress creates more myelin in the brain, interfering with the timing and balance of communication. Those who experience chronic stress in life are more likely to develop mood or anxiety disorders.

Changes in the Brain Structure

Chronic stress is also found to alter the brain’s structure and function. The brain is made up of what is known as gray matter and white matter. The myelin created in the brain is in the white matter, and when it is in excess, it speeds up electrical signals that tell your brain how to communicate.

Not all stress is bad, however. Good stress trains our brains to operate in the face of challenge and will teach you to become more resilient. In the long term, whether you are experiencing more good or bad stress, you are leaving your brain more susceptible to mental illness.

Additionally, many people believe the impacts of stress are due to significant events, such as the death of a loved one or natural disaster, but it is actually due to the stress in day-to-day life. Accumulation of daily stress makes large traumatic events that much worse. This can cause brain shrinkage when it happens. 

Brain Cells

Stress impacts the brain’s hippocampus, which is associated with memory, emotions, and learning. New brain cells are also created in the hippocampus throughout life. One study conducted by scientists found that rats placed in stressful situations had significantly less brain cell generation and two rats in a normal situation. 

Impact on Memory

Stress can have even short-term impacts on memory. For example, running late for work may make you stressed, and it can be easy to forget where your car keys are. Studies have found that chronic stress has impacted the brain’s ability to remember the location of things. On the other hand, research has found that when stress occurs immediately before learning, memory can be enhanced by promoting memory consolidation. 

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