Stress and mental health are closely tied together. Persistent, extended periods of negative stress can precede other issues that impact mental wellness.
Stress is our response to anything that threatens our physical, emotional, or financial health or survival. A stressor is an event or series of events that harm or threaten people and cause them to respond. When we suffer from too much stress for too long, it is called distress. Persistent, extended periods of negative stress can precede other issues that impact mental wellness. It is often difficult for people to distinguish between depression and stress.
The Physiological effects of stress are with us every day and most of the time we do not think much of it as if we find them normal.
These effects have a systemwide effect resulting from stress or a perceived situation of stress.
Symptoms of stress can differ from person to person. It is important to recognize when you are feeling stressed before the stress becomes chronic.
One can clearly see that there are many effects of stress include mental ones.
Most of the chemicals needed in the brain from adrenaline to cortisol are produced in the adrenal gland as a result of a situation of stress or perceived stress.
Many others for example serotonin, dopamine is produced but gut bacteria in the digestive system.
If one suffers from chronic digestive issues may have deficiency or inability to have a stable and varied gut flora. A varied gut flora will produce adequate amounts of dopamine and serotonin. If, however chronic digestive problems affect the gut flora composition the brain function will be ultimately compromised due to the lack of those brain chemicals
A 2020 review of research on depression and the gut microbiome noted that generally, people with depression have a less diverse gut microbiome, with higher levels of bacteria associated with inflammation, like Bacteroidetes, and decreased levels of bacteria associated with anti-inflammation, like Firmicutes. It’s estimated that 50%–90% of patients with irritable bowel syndrome have a psychiatric comorbidity.
Blood sugar imbalances or diseases like type 2 diabetes play an important role on stress hormones production.
I will explain the blood sugar rollercoaster analogy:
Every time blood sugar level fall below a threshold or if you skip a meal, cortisol – a long term stress hormone, is released.
At this time, you will reach for a flour-based food, a biscuit, a cake and that will increase blood glucose levels: YOU FEEL GOOD AGAIN.
This however will prompt insulin production which will lower blood glucose and the rollercoaster will continue.