Why We Feel Stressed? How Often Does It Happen in Today’s Modern World?
Most people have felt stressed at one time or another; however, very few understand the extent to which it can affect their physical and mental health. To contextualize how Americans feel about the stress in their lives, it helps to look at a 2015 study published by the American Psychological Association. According to researchers involved in the study, the average stress level of people who live in the U.S. is 5.1 on a scale of 0 to 10, with 10 representing the highest level of stress imaginable. When it comes to stress, age is one of the many factors that can determine how likely an individual is to feel stressed and the extent to which it can overtake their life.
And this is evidenced in a 2019 Gallup poll, which found that most individuals become more stressed around middle age. According to the poll data, which took an in-depth look at stress levels among varying age groups, researchers found that over 65 percent of respondents age 30 to 49 said they struggled with some level of stress in their lives. By comparison, less than 64 percent of respondents age 15 to 29 reported feeling stressed. At the end of the study, researchers found that the U.S. ranks as the world’s second-most stressed-out country and will likely surpass Greece, which currently holds the number one position.
Science Reveals What Stress Does to the Body
Generally speaking, biochemical and physical responses go hand-in-hand with stress. To further put this into context, it helps to look at these two stress responses individually. The physical stress response, which generally includes an increased heart rate, rapid breathing, muscle contractions, and elevated blood pressure, are triggered by a biochemical stress response. When individuals feel stressed, they often experience a surge in adrenaline.
Above-average adrenaline production, in response to stress, arouses the sympathetic nervous system, which, in turn, lowers the activity of the parasympathetic nervous system. Arousal of the sympathetic nervous system, when coupled with reduced activity of the parasympathetic nervous system, can also trigger a rapid pulse, indigestion, and profuse sweating. While we are on the topic, it is worth pointing out that too much stress can trigger a biochemical stress response in the brain that, for many people, can bring about feelings of anxiety or depression.
Feelings of Anxiety and Depression Caused by Stress: What Are They and the Differences Between Them
Before detailing how stress can lend itself to anxiety, depression, or both, we should take a moment to familiarize ourselves with some of the differences between the two mental health disorders. In short, anxiety is a mental health disorder that is, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition (DSM-5), characterized by overwhelming feelings of worry. Most people who struggle with anxiety are worried about how others might perceive them or believe that an adverse event or outcome will invariably be born out of their interactions with others.
That said, anxiety can take on many forms, including social anxiety and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Specific phobias, such as Agoraphobia and claustrophobia, are classified as anxiety disorders as well. Some of the symptoms synonymous with these various forms of anxiety include the following:
- A lack of focus
- Changes in appetite
- Chronic fatigue
- Feeling irritable
- Panic attacks
- Profuse sweating
- Restlessness and insomnia
- Ruminating thoughts
As far as depression is concerned, it is classified, according to the DSM-5, as a mood disorder. And this is what distinguishes it from mere temporary bouts of sadness. Most people who are depressed also lose interest in things that once brought them joy, and they remain that way for weeks, months, or even years. In many cases, suicidal ideations are a part of the equation.
What Causes Anxiety?
According to several studies, the leading cause of anxiety is stress. Therefore, it stands to reason that the same things that invite stress into one’s life can also set the stage for anxiety disorder. In a 2017 study conducted and published by the American Institute of Stress, researchers revealed that the following were the most commonly reported causes of stress among adults:
- Financial concerns
- America’s future
- Work-related problems
- Conflicts with friends and family
What Causes Depression?
The cause of depression, unlike anxiety, is not quite as overarching. The long and short of it is that any change in brain chemistry can pave the way for depression. And this can be in the form of low serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine, or epinephrine levels. It is important to note that depressive feelings can sometimes be made worse by many of the same things that cause anxiety. Also noteworthy, depression and anxiety can sometimes stem from hormonal imbalances, namely low human growth hormone (HGH) levels.
HGH Deficiency and Mental Health: Science Explains How the Two Are Correlated
Most people are aware that an HGH deficiency can lead to stunted growth in children. However, it can also cause many problems in adulthood, mental health disorders being among them. Studies show that a decline in HGH predisposes some individuals to anxiety or depression. And this is the case even among those who live a stress-free life and have normal serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine levels. In case of proven HGH deficiency Norditropin is commonly recommended, but only with a prescription.
In short, a human growth hormone deficiency leads to a spike in cortisol, a steroid hormone that dictates how the body and brain will respond to stress. When cortisol levels remain elevated for too long, the stress that many people feel turns into anxiety. For this reason, many endocrinologists will encourage individuals to undergo a blood or similar diagnostic test to determine if their struggles with anxiety or depression are related to an HGH deficiency.
How You Can Avoid Anxiety and Depression by Yourself
One of the best ways to avoid feeling anxious or depress is by keeping stress to a minimum. Additionally, scheduling routine physical exams that include blood tests to detect HGH and other hormone deficiencies is also a good idea.
Most Popular and Safest Ways to Get Rid of Anxiety and Depression
If you’re among the thousands of Americans struggling with anxiety or depression, you should know that there are plenty of things that you can do to combat such mental health disorders. For instance, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) has helped many people overcome anxiety or depression resulting from low growth hormone levels.
Further, some dietary supplements, such as vitamin D, can help in this regard as well. There is also scientific data that show some herbal remedies, such as St. John’s wort, chamomile, ginseng, and saffron, can provide considerable relief from feelings of anxiety and depression and can even help combat stress. Lastly, exercising regularly and consuming a healthy, well-balanced diet can help boost low HGH levels and lower high cortisol levels. And this combination goes a long way toward improving overall mood.
In summary, many biochemical and physiological things can cause stress, anxiety, and depression. Fortunately, there is no shortage of ways to go about keeping these issues at bay. And in many cases, it is just a matter of leading a healthy lifestyle that includes exercising, eating a well-balanced diet, and undergoing an annual physical exam with a licensed physician.