It’s fairly obvious to sufferers that stress has physiological symptoms. But apart from shaking hands, quickened breath and dry mouth, stress also affects your brain. Does long-term stress actually predispose you to mental illness? Let’s look at some facts, statistics and recent studies to find out.
Percentage of U.S. adults who suffer adverse health effects from stress (1)
75% to 90% of all doctor’s visits are related to ailments caused from stress. (1)
Percentage of those feeling stressed who admit to also feeling depressed (2)
Most common stressors (2)
Cause: Percent of stressed Americans affected
The economy: 65%
Personal health concerns: 52%
Personal safety: 30%
Number of adults in the U.S. who have a mental illness. This is 18.6% of all adults. (3)
Most common disorders (4)
Disorder: Prevalence in adults
Major depressive disorder: 14.8 million
General anxiety disorder: 6.8 million
Panic disorder: 6 million
Obsessive-compulsive disorder: 2.2 million
Post-traumatic stress disorder is unique in that it shows a direct link between extreme stress and mental health.
Number of American adults who suffer from PTSD (4)
Percentage of people who have experienced extreme stress due to witnessing violence who develop PTSD
PTSD often occurs with other illnesses such as depression, anxiety disorders and addiction.
Multiple studies have shown a significant connection between stress and mental health.
Berkeley Study (5)
When: February 2014
Main findings: Chronic stress creates changes in the brain that create a predisposition for mental illness.
Johns Hopkins Study (6)
When: January 2013
Main findings: Using mice, researchers found that extreme stress in adolescents can change brain chemistry to allow for the onset of mental illness.
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Study (3)
When: February 2009
Main findings: Chronic stress may elevate levels of glucocorticoids in the brain. This reduces cell function and may lead to anxiety and depression disorders.
Severe stress can… (5,7,8)