Stress, an emotional illness

In today's society, stress has become an emotional illness, which hurts us. This damage is produced by the high levels of cortisol that, a stress situation sustained over time, generates. Whereas before the stress responded to a threatening situation for life, today that threat is experienced as an emotional stumbling block.

Before a warning signal or a threat, the whole body is activated. From the brain, the adrenal glands activate a series of molecules and one of them is cortisol, the hormone of stress, survival and anxiety.

"Cortisol is good in small doses because it activates us and allows us to face that challenge, that threat we have in front of us, but ... what happens to us?" Asks the psychiatrist Marián Rojas-Estapé and author of the book How to make good things happen to you-. That, if we feel that constant threat, we feel that we are with a lion that is watching us and we suffer for it constantly, our body starts to have high levels of cortisol ".


Do you distinguish the real from the imaginary?

To realize this, the most important thing is clear to have an idea: our mind and our body do not distinguish what is real from what is imaginary. Marián Rojas-Estapé says that "the real threats are so terrible to our body, the lion that appears before me, the fire, the fire, a bomb, that the sensation in my brain and in my thought of" what happens if I they attack, if I screw up, if I lose my job, if my husband abandons me. "Our mind and body do not distinguish those two threats, physical or real, from the imaginary." Therefore, when people live constantly under high levels of stress, anguish, worries ... their high level of stress produces illness.


90% of the things that worry us never happen, but our body and our mind live it as if they were real. One as he observes and realizes that he lives in that state of alert, when the body begins to give signals-headaches, migraines, tachycardias, paresthesias, our hands go numb, dry mouth, gastrointestinal problems, muscular, neurological ... I usually say that anxiety is to the mind, what fever is to the body.

Effects of stress: this is how cortisol damages the body

When a person lives constantly worried about something, with high levels of stress, that cortisol that is cyclical, because at night is lower and then goes up until his peak is highest at eight in the morning, is chronic. This means that it rises, we get intoxicated, I carry cortisol intoxication, that is, we can not get it down. And this toxic cortisol has three effects on the body: on a physical level, on a psychological level and on a behavioral or behavioral level.


1. On a physical level.Who has not had tachycardia, palpitations, shortness of breath or chest pain, dry mouth, trembling eyelid, sweaty hands, tensions at the muscular level, the temporomandibular joint contracts, neurological problems, long-term some diseases of type oncological

2. Psychologically. We start with an irritability. The person who has high levels of cortisol is stressed and irritable. Everything makes him nervous, everything bothers him, and shows very little tolerance for frustration. This irritability is also associated with memory failures, the area of ​​memory is the hippocampal zone, it has a high sensitivity to cortisol, that is why we have constant memory failures. Problems of concentration, the prefrontal cortex, the area of ​​the brain that is responsible for concentration, decreases blood flow in people with high levels of stress. And, if it gets longer, people tend to get sad. Many depressions come from states of permanent anxiety, they have a basis in stress.

And, likewise, on a psychological level, the dream; if we are talking about cortisol being cyclical, which is deeply linked to sleep, people with high levels of cortisol do not get to sleep or, if they fall asleep, they have micro-arousals or, when they wake up in the morning, they have the feeling of not having rested nothing.

3. At the behavior level. A person with high cortisol, with high levels of stress, does not want to relate, wants to be alone, has difficulty interacting, prefers to be silent, prefers not to go to social plans and tends to isolate himself.

Marisol Nuevo Espín
Advice: Marián Rojas-Estapé, psychiatrist and author of ibro How to make good things happen to you

Video: Emotion, Stress and Health: Crash Course Psychology #26


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