What mental disorders can stress cause?

What mental disorders can stress cause?

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Stress can occur as something positive and negative. The first option is responsible for saving lives, it often gives us motivation and stimulates us to act. However, it is worth knowing what bad consequences chronic stress has and what mental disorders it can cause.


The byproducts created by stress can have a calming effect. These products cause sedation or fatigue. When such hormonal byproducts are present in large amounts, which occurs, for example, as a result of chronic stress, there is a huge drop in energy or depression is induced. Low self-efficacy or the belief that you are unable to cope with stress can also lead to depressive states

Symptoms of depression may include sleep problems, fatigue, changes in appetite, feelings of worthlessness, self-hatred and guilt, inability to concentrate or make decisions, agitation, restlessness and irritability, withdrawal from typical pleasurable activities, feelings of hopelessness and helplessness. In addition, depression is associated with an increase in suicidal thoughts and such behaviors, and the sufferer is more likely to suffer from other mental disorders.

Bipolar affective disorder

Severe, chronic stress can negatively affect people with bipolar affective disorder. It is also known as manic depression. It involves dramatic changes in mood, energy levels, and behavior from the peak of mania (one pole) to major depression (the opposite pole). Mania is characterized by a euphoric mood, hyperactivity, a positive expansive outlook on life, inflated self-esteem, and a sense that almost anything is possible. In a manic state, people with bipolar affective disorder tend to experience a decreased need for sleep, racing thoughts, rapid speech, and increased absentmindedness.

People with bipolar affective disorder switch between manic and depressive states over days, weeks, or months. This cyclical mood change disrupts daily functioning. Stress can trigger a depressive or manic state in people with a genetic susceptibility to bipolar affective disorder. It can also worsen a bipolar mood episode once it has begun by increasing its intensity or lengthening its duration.

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Panic attacks

This is an intense wave of fear that is characterized by a highly intense inability to act. The heart of the person experiencing the attack beats faster and he or she cannot breathe. In addition, it feels like he or she is breathing or going crazy. Panic attacks themselves occur unexpectedly, without any warning and without a clear trigger. They can occur even when you are relaxed or asleep

A panic attack can be a one-time occurrence, but most people experience recurring episodes, and these are most often triggered by a specific situation, such as crossing a bridge or giving a public speech, especially if the situation has already caused such an attack. Typically, a panic-inducing situation is one in which you feel threatened and unable to escape, triggering the body’s fight-or-flight response.

The exact causes of panic attacks are not completely known, and the tendency for them to occur runs in families. Severe stress such as the death of a loved one, divorce, or job loss can also trigger this condition.


Neurotic behavior occurs because you have a neurotic personality. People with neuroticism perceive everyday situations as much worse than they actually are, and then blame themselves for their extreme pessimism and negative attitude. Neuroticism is manifested by the following feelings: irritability, anger, sadness, guilt, hostility, and sensitivity. Neurotic personality may make you more susceptible to, among others: generalised anxiety syndrome, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, social phobia, post-traumatic stress disorder, paroxysmal anxiety, antisocial personality disorder.

Photo: Karolina Grabowska/Pexels

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