Home Health Can Stress Make You Sick? Understanding the Physical Signs of Stress

Can Stress Make You Sick? Understanding the Physical Signs of Stress


Stress is something you feel all over your body, but can stress make you sick? Here’s what you need to know about the impact of stress on your body.

Did you know that 44% of Americans reported higher stress levels in the last five years? That includes children, too, with almost a third experiences physical results of that stress.

But can stress make you sick? Read on to learn about the relationship between stress and illness.

Can Stress Make You Sick?

Some stress can, but some stress is good for you.

There are two main types of stress: acute and chronic stress. There are also two sub-types of stress: eustress and distress. It is important to understand each type of stress and its impact on your health.

Types of Stress

Acute stress is a typical fight or flight response.

Your response, for example, when a fire alarm goes off. Your heart rate increases and your metabolism increases. Typically, the effects of this response go away after about an hour and a half. 

Chronic stress is the stress we experience on a regular basis. This is the stress we often discount as just life. This stress, left unchecked, can have a negative impact on your health.

There are two other sub-types of stress. Eustress is the stress of daily life that is positive, such as having a baby. Distress is the stress of daily life that is negative, such as divorce or an injury.

Signs and Symptoms of Stress

Below are some things that may indicate that you are experiencing chronic stress that is affecting your health. 


If you experience a sudden appearance of acne, this can be a sign of stress.

It is a combination of your body’s physical response, but individuals who are stressed often touch their face, too. This touching tends to spread the bacteria found in acne.


Often times, a stressful event will precede a headache. If you notice that you are experiencing more frequent headaches, start a journal—you may just notice that stress is the culprit. 

Frequent Sickness

Stress can lower your immune function. Frequent colds and illnesses are often the first sign of chronic stress.  

Difficulty Sleeping or Grinding Your Teeth 

It is easy to identify chronic stress as the cause of your sleepless nights. The challenge is that lack of sleep causes chronic fatigue and increases your stress levels. 

If you wake up with tooth or jaw pain, chronic stress may also be the cause. If you do find yourself grinding your teeth, a Brux Teeth Grinding Night Guard will protect your teeth as you work to resolve the stress itself. 


Stress and depression are also linked. If you are constantly feeling overwhelmed, this can lead to symptoms of mild or moderate depression.

What’s Next?

Can stress make you sick?

Yes, but you can learn to manage the stress and work to improve your overall health. If you take time to learn self-care, such as meditation, you can learn to better respond to the stress you experience.

If you are curious about other ways to manage stress or improve your life, then the Curious Mind Magazine will not only inspire you but also offer other suggestions on life improvement.