Emotional Distress and Health

Posted: September 3rd, 2013








Emotional Distress and Health






Emotional Distress and Health

Most people suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder also experience pain. These individuals tend to undergo difficulties with physical pain. Post traumatic stress disorder has been associated with many health disorders. Some of the chronic health ailments associated with PTSD include, sleep apnea, obesity, diabetes, headaches and heart complications. There lies a relationship between PTSD occurrence and pain especially chronic headaches and migraines. This pain can often lead to unhealthy ways of coping and thus lead to more serious and life threatening ailments.

Although research does not conclusively explain the reason why persons suffering from PTSD have a high risk of suffering from chronic health disorders such as headaches and migraines, the stress associated with PTSD is however linked to chronic headaches and migraines. The symptoms that persons suffering from PTSD usually suffer from create high chances of the individual undergoing very high stress levels and emotional strain. The created stress and strain often ends up in having the individuals experience headaches in their daily lives (Breslau, Kessler, Chilcoat, Schultz, Davis, Andreski, 1998).

PTSD highly alters various aspects of an individual’s life. A person suffering from this ailment will often have difficulties with work duties and relationships. This increases the chances of such an individual suffering from stress and the likelihood of having headaches. There are instances where the traumatic events leading to PTSD increase the individual’s chances of experiencing chronic headaches. War veterans suffering from PTSD because of the traumatic events depicted in battles complain of chronic headaches and migraines. Chronic migraines and headaches are also related to PTSD in terms of the traumatic event preceding PTSD. If the traumatic event involved head injuries or traumatic brain injury, such individuals are more prone to headaches coinciding with PTSD.

One of the physiological mechanism by which emotional stress affects health is the mechanism involving the release of stress hormones during stress allowing for explosive strength and endurance. This physiological mechanism is often called the “fight-or-flight” response to a stressing event (Braun, Greenberg, Daaberg, & Lerer, 2000). During this instance, the brain regulates the release of adrenaline, cortisol and other stress hormones that primarily increase the heart’s beating rate, tension within the muscles and the redirection of blood to the muscular tissues. Although all this processes are aimed at enabling the body to ward of imminent danger, increased instances such as this tend to result into adverse health implications (Braun, Greenberg, Daaberg, & Lerer, 2000).

Continuous instances depicted by persons undergoing through stress may lead the heart into having an abnormal heart rhythm or complications with the heart muscles due to the constant altering of the heart rate. Hypertension and increased risks of heart attacks are resultants of increased blood pressure in the cardiovascular system. Coronary artery diseases and heart attacks become more rampant due to continual deposit of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood vessels.

In order to ameliorate these affects, the ailing individual needs to relax and take a back seat on all the hustles of everyday life. The individual is to avoid strenuous activities or anything that creates the heightened emotions. A vacation can be set into place as it can act as an effective diversion from the daily worries. The vacation can also serve to provide the mental capacity with new information and experiences that may not necessarily be charged with associations. More economically friendly measures involve taking part in totally new activities and increase in sports and recreational activities that lead the person into leaving the “scene of the crime”. Other measures involve engaging in yoga and meditation. In extreme cases, professional medical assistance should always be encouraged (Sontag, & Olsen, 2010).



Braun P, Greenberg D, Daaberg H, & Lerer B.  Core symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder unimproved by alprazolam.  J Clin Psychiatry 1990; 51: 236–238.

Breslau N, Kessler RC, Chilcoat HD, Schultz LR, Davis GC,  & Andreski P.  Trauma and post-traumatic stress  disorder in the community: the 1996 Detroit area survey of trauma.  Arch Gen Psychiatry 1998; 55: 626–632.

Sontag, D. (Reporter), & Olsen, E. (Producer). (2010). “Going on a mission”. Pod cast retrieved from http://video.nytimes.com/video/2006/09/10/nyregion/1194817120728/going-on-a-mission.html



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