However, too much stress can affect mental and physical health, particularly if it becomes chronic (ongoing) or overwhelming. Stress can affect your body, your thoughts and feelings, and your behaviour.
The symptoms of stress and changes with your body that you may notice include:
- other aches and pains
- sleep disturbance
- upset stomach, diarrhoea
- high blood pressure
- weakened immune system
- muscle tension
- change in sex drive (male or female)
The symptoms of stress affecting your mind, thoughts and feelings include:
- anxiety, worry
- anger, irritability
- depression or sadness
- feeling overwhelmed and out of control
- feeling restless
- feeling moody, tearful
- difficulty concentrating
- low self-esteem, lack of confidence
The symptoms of stress that impact your behaviour include:
- overeating or undereating
- outbursts of anger
- relationship problems
- alcohol, smoking or drug abuse
- avoiding people
Chronic and severe stress can increase the risk of developing depression, anxiety, substance abuse or a range of other mental disorders. If you are concerned you may have a mental health issue, visit a health professional.
Not sure what to do next?
If you or someone you know are finding it difficult to manage mental health issues, try healthdirect’s Symptom Checker and get advice on when to seek professional help.
The Symptom Checker guides you to the next appropriate healthcare steps, whether it’s self care, talking to a health professional, going to a hospital or calling triple zero (000).
Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.
Last reviewed: September 2019