Stress is a neglected cause of health complaints

The role of mental and emotional stress in medicine has been by and large neglected and un-diagnosed as a primary cause of somatic symptoms and health illness in the body. Most primary health practitioners are not trained to assess and then treat stress as a factor in health conditions. It’s really incredible when here we are in 2024 and we still think the head is cut off from the body. Even when WebMD quotes that: 

  • Forty-three percent of all adults suffer adverse health effects from stress.
  • Seventy-five percent to 90% of all doctor’s office visits are for stress-related ailments and complaints.
  • Stress can play a part in problems such as headaches, high blood pressure, heart problems, diabetes, skin conditions, asthma, arthritis, depression, and anxiety.
  • The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) declared stress a hazard of the workplace. Stress costs American industry more than $300 billion annually.
  • The lifetime prevalence of an emotional disorder is more than 50%, often due to chronic, untreated stress reactions.

I can tell you first hand as a health practitioner that stress plays a big role in the causation of somatic symptoms. Getting someone’s history and asking a few simple questions about one’s life can give us all the information we need to know that stress becomes a primary driver in the production of physical health issues in the body. Especially in light of all the research coming out showing the role of adverse childhood events, trauma, PTSD, anxiety, depression, emotional regulation issues, and all the brain imaging studies that continue to come forth. We really need to assess and then address stress as a primary driver of health complaints.