General Question

Scarlett's avatar

How much can STRESS DO to a Person ?

Asked by Scarlett (915points) June 26th, 2010


For the past 6 months I’ve been really stressed out.

I want to know how much can stress do to someone?

How much can stress do physically do to the human body?

Here are some of the changes I’ve been noticing about me :

1. GREY HAIR and I’m ONLY 19 !!!!!!!!

** BOTH my parents didn’t get Grey hair until their 40’s so this REALLY doesn’t make sense why I would get Grey hairs at such a young age?????

2. Thinning Hair. Like a lot. At my Temples.

3. Gaining weight, Losing weight, Wanting food all the time.

4. Insomnia

5. Feeling like not wanting to do anything with your life, like “WHAT’S THE POINT”

6. Loss of Time Perception. Everyday feels the same and ONE YEAR feels like a FEW months to me. I know this ain’t normal.

7. Lots of Pimples.

8. People always told me I look tired

So I think I would just like to know if this is all from Stress or Depression or a Hormone change, ??

Does anyone know? Or has anyone been really stressed out before and it began to show physically?

**** I went to the Doctor, and I’m Healthy. Everything is normal. My Thyroid is normal, my blood, they couldn’t find anything wrong with me, but I just feel so stressed out and shitty.

Can anyone please tell me what’s wrong??

And better ways to cope with stress?

Because I really want to get better, have my hair grow back, have no more Grey hairs, or feel like shit all the time.


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36 Answers

dpworkin's avatar

Stress can be fatal, and stress can also be ameliorative. There is no life without stress, but if you feel so strongly that your level of stress is maladaptive you should seek treatment.

laureth's avatar

It can kill you, actually. See Karoshi.

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

Can you elaborate on what is stressing you out? Work? School? Do you take any drugs that might have the side effect of making you feel this way?

What I would recommend to you is this….do yoga and/or take a class in TM (Transcendental Meditation). Acupuncture also reduces stress. You can always buy a yoga DVD and do it by yourself——if you can’t get to a class. Get a good one. This is a good meditation DVD: Yoga of Light (it’s not really yoga movements, it’s a meditation). But there are a lot of yoga movement DVD’s out there.

Definitely learn to calm the mind and quiet the mind. There are probably Buddhist meditation classes as well. Don’t take drugs for your stress, try to use an alternative method.

My guess is that you are super sensitive person. You might be tuning in to the energies of people all around you. See the book, “The Highly Sensitive Person”. That’s why it is important that you find a way to calm your mind and yoga, meditation, acupuncture all work well.

Also…make sure that your room, where you sleep is uncluttered, peaceful (not painted in red, but in restful colors). Keep it clear and clean so that when you are in there, resting it is a sanctuary and/or you can feel it is a place where you can rest and re-group.

Best of luck to you.

ubersiren's avatar

Stress can cause all sorts of health issues. Since you’ve been to the doctor and they’ve done testing to tell you that you’re physically normal (did they check blood pressure?), perhaps it would do you good to go to a psychologist or other such professional.

Some things you could try if you’re not quite at your wit’s end:
yoga, massage, meditation, breathing exercises, watch your nutrition, or talk to a school or church counselor. Of course if you feel like you’re losing hope, don’t hesitate to get therapy.

Seaofclouds's avatar

Are you sleeping and eating well? Stress can cause physical symptoms when not handled properly. Trying to take care of yourself is important. Proper sleep and nutrition can cause your body to be run down and for your stress level to be higher.

@DarlingRhadamanthus and @ubersiren both mentioned some good relaxation techniques. Finding a way to manage your stress is important. If you don’t already have a bedtime routine, this might be a good time to start one. Try different things that help you calm down and unwind and make sure your bed is only used for sleeping. If you use your bed for other things (like doing work) you should stop so that you aren’t relating your bed to a work place and instead only relating it to a relaxing place.

As for the grey hair, that may not be related to stress at all. Some people just get grey hair early (my brother started getting grey hair at 16).

Zaku's avatar

Stress can do all that, kill you, and other things. :-)

Doesn’t necessarily mean any or all of those things are due to stress in your case, but if you feel stressed, it’s worth working out.

Flavio's avatar

Since you are young, I am not worried about permanent physical damage. The weight, the hair, the fatigue all that can get better. The most important issue is your psychological health. If you came to see me, the first thing I would ask is your cause of stress. I would try to help you solve the cause of your symptoms. Perhaps you should go see your school’s guidance counselor or student health psychologists. If you don’t feel safe doing this, is there a mental health drop-in clinic nearby?

Merriment's avatar

I don’t’ know what your stresses you are facing…but unless they are far and away over and above the normal stresses faced by other 19 year olds I wouldn’t be so fast to accept that all your symptoms are caused by stress alone.

At 19 our bodies , if they are relatively healthy, are pretty forgiving of stress,.If you are experiencing such a wide variety of symptoms I would look at other underlying causes to explain at least a few of them.

Scarlett's avatar

I’m stressed because of Life.

I know I can do so much in Life, I KNOW I’m going to do great someday, I know my potential,

I just feel “Stuck” in Life right now.

Just got out of a Homeless Shelter, and I think the Unknown of the Future freaks me out, because I have no control.

Stress is in Life yes, but it is controlling me now and eating me up.

Everyday I wake up feeling the same,

When I walk down the street I see people without Faces, I feel everyone is the same, No feeling.

I’m just a Lost Soul.

I’m very deep thinking, and I think sometimes that makes me feel like I’m going Crazy.

I’d also describe myself as an “Intense” person. I’m kind and loving, I just FEEL very intensely.

I don’t know if I’m SEVERELY Depressed BECAUSE I DO want to move on, I DO want to change, and I actually KNOW things will get better….

So I really don’t know…......

Thanks for everyone giving advice and talking, I really didn’t know Stress was strong enough to kill…............

Scarlett's avatar

Another Note about my sleep

** I’ve always had sleeping issued. Since Elementary actually, very young.

I did almost enjoy not sleeping in highschool, being an artist I would stay up and Draw-Paint, and I could do well in school with only 4 or 5 hours a sleep.

However now that I’m out of highschool and into the world((got kicked out when I was 18 so I’m on my own)) Insomnia has gotten way worse.

It was never this bad before.

janedelila's avatar

Oh, dear. When you went to the doctor, did you ever hear from them that it maybe something emotional? You are still so young, you still may have hormonal imbalances. Did any doctor offer medication? I’m curious to know.

Scarlett's avatar

I have been to therapy, and been seeing a therapist for the past 5–6 months, It hasn’t helped.

They put me on anti-depressants, but it just seems hopeless. I think I am somewhat depressed, not all the way severe depressed. I still smile, still go out, still laugh, and still want to do things,

Is the Time thing normal as well ???

I feel like Time is going out of Control and Time is going way too fast and is SPEEDING and I can’t do anything about it…....... Like Time is my enemy and I feel Forced…..

Hormonal imbalance? Went to the doctor, went to a Gyno, I am all good.

So my Health is ok and normal, they didn’t find anything wrong…

Scarlett's avatar

Just Psychiatrist offered Anti-Depressant, but that hasn’t helped and I really don’t feel depressed because I Love Life and Laugh, etc…

I just feel…...LOST.

I would consider myself intense,emotional,deep thinking, deep feeling, highly intuitive, artistic, person, and I go back and forth from Extremes-

I get broad mood swings between the elation and depression… feeling really happy and in love to feeling depressed and dead.

Although like I said in highschool, when I had a home and had structure, even my strangeness was fun because I was focused,

Life just seems to be spinning out of Control.

I try to go to sleep and all I do is toss and turn.

janedelila's avatar

But in the original question you asked if it was just hormones…maybe a different therapist. Sometimes it takes a while to find the right medication, that science seems woefully experimental. I feel your sleep issues, I have that shit going on. Have bad things happened to you lately?

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

Do you have a home now? Are you with family?

Scarlett's avatar

My therapist I have right now is pretty cool, He says I should just get a routine going, Get a Job, Work 9 to 5, Get a Sleep Schedule.

I’ve always been a little unusual. It’s just who I am.

I guess I’ve done this to myself because I feel like I’m special and different from most people,

I have a feeling inside of me that I’m going to be great and big someday – I’m going to be Famous, and people do tell me I’m unique and different,

I don’t mean to toot my own horn, or what I just said sounds conceited, but it’s the truth.

I feel like I’m going to be big, and it kills me that I feel stuck in Life.

I know I’m going to be famous, I just don’t know how or when, but I feel it inside of me, I just can’t explain it.

I probably sound really crazy right now, and I accept that, but anyway,

I expect a lot from myself, and that mixed with me being a deep thinking person, an emotional person, an unusual person, I think it fucked me up even more

Because I think I’m the type of person of who can go so Far, and YET BE COMPLETELY DRIVEN TO INSANITY BY HER INNER DEMONS.

Scarlett's avatar

**** I’m 20 right now,

** Got kicked out right the day I turned 18

** Lost in Life, and I’m kinda Wandering and Floating,

*** I just got out of a Homeless Shelter, was there for 4 or 5 months,

*** Right now yes I have a place to stay,

janedelila's avatar

Try the Job Corps. Will send you to school, feed you and board you. You just work for them and they teach you a skill. Because you are so unique, could you teach? Tutor, volunteer, preschool. Very rewarding and grounding.

Merriment's avatar

I hate to be the one to tell you this…but most of us in our younger days have a feeling inside of us that we’re going to be great and big someday – we’re going to be Famous, and people did tell us we were unique and different too,

What time will teach you and what no one will normally tell you is that all the special in the world isn’t a substitute for just picking a course/direction and getting on with your life.

While you are waiting for your future fame, you aren’t living your here and now…and that is where the danger of being completely driven to insanity lay. One day you may look up and see that you haven’t gone far because you never took the next, seemingly, unremarkable step.

This, I think, is what your therapist is encouraging you to do with his advice to just get a routine going, Get a Job, Work 9 to 5, Get a Sleep Schedule.

If you are truly remarkable, and I don’t doubt that you could be, then remarkable achievements will happen for you even as you live a normal life. And if you should just be average like the rest of us…at least you’ll have more security in your obscurity.

gailcalled's avatar

@Scarlett: Forget the dreams of grandeur for the time being; get a decent job, earn some money, set up a schedule (oh, wait. Your therapist told you the same thing.)

When you have settled down to a routine, then concentrate on being famous, unique and different (whatever that means).

JLeslie's avatar

@Scarlett I think you should confirm your doctor tested your Thyroid, Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH). It sounds like your could be very low possibly, which means your thyroid might be making you feel all wounds up, and can be mistaken for a mental illness. Common symptoms are dry hair, loss of hair, dry skin, unable to sleep, and being ravenous.

However, you certainly have reason to feel stressed and out of control, it is understandable. I think what might help you is to learn ways to calm yourself. Deep breathing. Also, not avoiding situations, but meeting them head on, and getting through.

You sound like you might be bi-polar?? But I realize that could be wrong, since you indeed have had extreme circumsatnces.

I think your grey hair is probably genetic, just maybe did not show up in your parents, but they might be recessive for it.

Scarlett's avatar

@ Merriment, Thank you for your answer.

I know I’m going to go far, I have no doupt in that, and I know this is but just a stick in the road.

and you’re right, everyone says that yes they are special, unique, going to be famous, yes, many people claim that, but I still stick my it.

It may be crazy to think you can be famous some day because you know you have the drive, but when I said Famous, I didn’t necessarily mean like a Celebrity

By Famous, I meant I know what I’m capable of, and know that I want to be Loved, Respected, and Inspire many people.

and I already have,

There are many great people in the world,

I guess me saying unique and different MEANS I am not boring unimaginative closeminded unspiritual people who only live in a box.

but that’s not the point of conversation I want to get into,

what I meant to say from that was,

Me wanting to do a lot in the World, and Not knowing how to get there, makes me feel like shit.

Scarlett's avatar


I’ve had my Thyroid done Twice – It’s normal.

So it bugs me even more because all the doctors are telling me I’m quite normal and fine as far as physical health is concernce, they didn’t find anything wrong with me :(

and about the grey hair, I really don’t think it’s genetic, because no one in my family had grey hair at such a young age,

and the fact that I have Grey hair while all this other stuff is happening( weight gain, loss of sex drive, insomnia, losing thinning hair, pimples, wanting to cry, feeling like time is speeding too fast), just ties it even more with my stress…or whatever is going on…

I’ve been told Bi-Polar by a therapist when I was about 15, but she didn’t diagnos me, she just said It seems to her that I might be.

Never been diagnose, but I don’t know what being Bi-Polar is either.

Thanks for the answer.

JLeslie's avatar

@Scarlett Well, what’s important is that if you are bipolar it is different drugs than if you are simply diagnosed as depressed. And, so if that is the case your medication may be not helping you or making things worse. I don’t think you mentioned which anti-depressent you are on, but some have a side effect of anxiety.

Here is a link if you google bipolar there is plenty of info on it.

Keep in mind I am not trying to fit you into that diagnosis. I went through a couple of very anxiety ridden times in my life, and I am not bipolar, but some things you said made me think of it.

xStarlightx's avatar

Ive taken stress classes.

Stress can kill you if you don’t take care of the problem and/or feel safe around your environment.

What your body is doing is trying to adapt to if any changes that may have been happening in your life. If your body feels that it cannot adapt it goes into the fight or flight mode and it basically starves/ eats its self from the inside out to keep going, that doesn’t just count with food, it counts with the nourishment from the food you get and the sunlight and things like that.

Eventually if your mind never feels safe you either A – Go into a coma or B – Your body eventually will kill itself due to the stress.

Relax, drink some tea and maybe you might want to cut out the simple things in your life first, like taking on extra classes or groups. Focus more on you then anyone else.

Pandora's avatar

I read most of the comments on here but I hope I’m not already repeating something.
Have you checked on the internet for the side effects some of these medications have?
If you haven’t than please do. Also check with a pharmasist to see if some of these medications are compatible or if any over the counter meds your taking aren’t compatible. They would know better than your doctor.
If it seems some of the meds you are taking could be the cause, talk to your doctor and see if he can perscribe something similiar that has less side effects.
You may also want to talk to a dietician to be sure your current diet isn’t perhaps causing some of your symptoms. Too much caffiene could cause you to have an abnormal sleep pattern.
Lack of sleep will lead to stress. Stress will lead to lack of sleep. Its a vicious circle.
Don’t eat heavy meals before bed. No caffiene, stay off the internet late at night. The light from the screen works like the sun and tricks your body into thinking its not bed time.
Read a book thats boring in low light. Reading may help you from wondering thoughts. Do it for a while. It may take some time to fall asleep but after a few nights of reading the same really boring book, you may fall asleep just at the thought of reading it.
Don’t sleep with the tv on either. It can interupt your sleep.
Put a fan on. After a while of hearing the steady hum you will fall asleep with it on and you will feel more relaxed because it will help drown out other night sounds.
Camomile tea is really great for relaxing your nerves. (has no caffiene)
(some other teas have caffiene in it, so research it to see if it does)
Greying hair can be associated with the lack of certain vitamins, so look into that. However if you need to replenish than do it naturally with food. Less likely to get other side effects that way.
Pimples can be made worse by certain lotions or makeup. You may need to change them. Especially if they are old. If you have bacteria in them, it can enter your pores and make them worse. Especially if the PH balance on your face is off. Soap can actually make it worse.
Try washing with something like dove in the morning and if your face is too greasy use and astrigent like witch hazel. It will kill germs without drying out your face too much. Before you do that make sure to close your pores by using cold water. Do the same at night before bed time. If you can avoid using make up till your face is clear than all the better. If you have a severe zit problem than you may have an infection. See a dermatologist.

Flavio's avatar

What you have really does not seem medical. Stick with your therapist, get a routine with a steady job, don’t do illegal drugs or drink too much, call 911 if you get suicidal. I obviously don’t know you, but when I read your words it sounds more like you have some serious existential angst rather than a syndrome treatable with meds. Treatment for this is therapy, a fulfilling job, and fulfilling relationships.

mattbrowne's avatar

Prolonged elevated cortisol levels can do all kinds of damage even modifying brain chemistry and the brain itself. Once I read this can even shrink the adrenal gland.

janedelila's avatar

Soooo. How are you now? Haven’t heard from you.

Scarlett's avatar

@xStarlightx —- Doesn’t your body only eat itslef when someone is starving??? Just asking because I don’t know.

Scarlett's avatar

@ Janedelila – Life is hard, but I know I’m going to get over this, so no matter how difficult, or how I wish I was somewhere else in time not suffering—- I know this hard point means getting to the happy point is going to be SO MUCH worth it. I have that mind set.

I’m ok. I know things could be a lot worse. I have food to eat, a roof over my head.

I guess I’m just changing. My body still deals with it, but I am going to take up meditating and relaxing more.

I haven’t looked into Job Corps but I will soon though…...

Thanks for everyone’s answers, much appreciate it.

Scarlett's avatar

Death….......Shit…................. I guess I can’t be stressed out then. Death isn’t what I want right now. Fuck.

Scarlett's avatar

@janedelila – I’m also going to start looking for work or careers, going to look into school, etc.

I’m also going to take up drawing again because I stopped when I was stressed out, and Art used to be a really big part of me….

I still look like shit, feel tired all the time, and stressed, but I’m hopeful everything in the end is going to be OK.

and being productive in a positive direction too.

xStarlightx's avatar

@Scarlett Yeah that is true too, but since stress makes you not eat or over eat your body starts to over work more or less so what little food you put in isn’t enough.

Scarlett's avatar

@xStarlightx Hm…...

Do you know where I can get info on this?

Sounds interesting.

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