Stress is perhaps the most mainstream cause of illness today. And when people do countless and unique measures to beat stress, there is really no one to blame them. With its dreadful effects, you would not want to encounter it ever. From its momentary effects to a life-long impact on health, stress could be the ultimate life foe. But its impact does not end there. Aside from confusion and memory loss, stress can cause nasal bleeding as well. By affecting mental health and emotional well-being on top of health issues, there is no doubt stress can cause blackouts. Know what causes this life-distracting tension and pressure and how it affects the body. Discover ways on how to beat and stress or if breathing techniques really work.
What Is Stress?
According to the American Psychological Association survey in 2020, nearly 1 out of 5 adults say their stress is worse than the previous year. With this high number, stress becomes an official issue among each person. Stress happens when there is a demand, challenge, change, and even traumatic event happening in your normal activities. The things and events that cause stress are called stressors. And anything from a project deadline, grief, to unpaid bills can be a stressor.
When the body senses stressors or a need for adjustment, it releases chemical messengers that cause body changes. These modifications disrupt the body’s normal and relaxed state and stimulate every organ to work faster, better, and with more force. With high-functioning organs, it will lead to better blood flow, stronger muscular endurance, and rapid breathing. And these changes do not necessarily indicate awful conditions. During danger and emergency, the body undergoes the same alteration and makes you run faster and lift heavier weights. Indeed, you will need all these boosts to fight or flee the danger. Hence, the presence of stress is not terrible at all times. However, the body does not have a reliable mechanism to identify the real dangers and not. And it is in this moment that stress could take your life into a wrong turn.
Types Of Stress
According to the duration of the body reaction, stress could last for a few moments or long years. Here are the types of stress you will often encounter:
This type of stress comes and goes quickly. The stressors could keep you off-guard for a second but go away after some time. Acute stress is also the most common type of stress but it does not often cause you to lose consciousness. Sudden changes, extreme adventures, and new assignments are examples of triggers causing acute stress. Breathing techniques are also most effective in speeding the passing of acute stress.
When acute stress occurs too frequently, it could be episodic stress. This state often arises when there is a feeling of deficiency to meet the stressor. People who worry often are commonly associated with episodic stress. Without proper measure, episodic stress causes anxiety and depression.
This type is where the harmful effects of stress could take a toll on your body. Aside from vasovagal syncope, chronic stress could also increase your risk for stroke and suicide. With the constant presence of stress, afflicted people fail to notice the presence of stressors anymore. High demands in life, poverty, abuse, unhealthy environment, and unhappy marriage are only a few scenarios that cause chronic stress.
Signs Of Stress
Depending on the type and your adaptive mechanism, stress could either cause you to lose consciousness or drive you to psychosis. Here are the common signs and symptoms of stress:
- Upset stomach including diarrhea
- Sleeping problems
- Feeling fatigued or tired
- Loss of appetite
- Panic attacks
- Social withdrawal
- Feeling worthless
- Loss of memory
- Too critical of others and self
How Can Stress Cause Blackouts
Syncope is a medical term that refers to passing out. There could be many reasons why people lose consciousness. And while there are several syncope types, vasovagal syncope is the one so often associated with stress. When you lose consciousness due to a distressing stimulant or terrifying trigger, it could lead to vasovagal syncope. It typically happens when the blood flow suddenly drops. When the brain senses the presence of an intense trigger, it could go haywire. And like in stress, it sends chemical signals to other organs such as the heart and vessels. With this, heart rate slows, while vessels in the feet widen. These changes will cause the blood to pool at the bottom. Hence, blood pressure in the body drops.
As you know, organs get their nutrients and oxygen from the blood. But with vasovagal syncope, the blood flow becomes insufficient in supplying these provisions. Without these supplies, the brain will shut down, causing the person to lose consciousness or faint. This interplay between the heart and brain also paved for the term cardio-neurogenic syncope. Some common triggers of vasovagal syncope other than stress include orthostatic hypotension, standing for long hours, and bodily injury. And although these blackouts are associated with physical threats and horrific situations, thoughts and emotions could also play significant roles. In this case, fainting is called psychogenic syncope. After all, a stressor could be anything from physical form to memory.
Diagnosing Psychogenic Blackout
Dizziness and fainting happen due to numerous reasons. And when it comes to psychogenic blackouts, the diagnosis could be difficult. Hence, it is important to seek medical intervention right away when signs of vasovagal syncope appear. And although these blackouts could be like the regular dizziness or fainting, it has signs that are different from others. These signs include jerking movements, tightly closed eyes, and a slow, weak pulse. And compared to fainting due to fear and phobia, a psychogenic blackout lasts longer and happens more often. Noting these symptoms will help the physician to diagnose vasovagal blackouts. And even if you cannot note these points on your own, asking someone to look over you will help. Besides, fainting is easy to anticipate as it presents as nausea or lightheadedness at first. Measurement of the cardiac electrical signals, blood tests, and anxiety level evaluation also helps physicians diagnose vasovagal syncope.
Treating Vasovagal Syncope
Since common stressors and anxiety are the usual causes of vasovagal syncope, treatment and prevention are possible. The only key element in preventing blackouts from occurring is knowing the cause. Staying away from your stressors will also keep you away from blackout episodes. Other than avoiding your triggers, you could also opt for the following:
Regular physical activity has been shown to improve stress and anxiety. It will also condition the heart to pump blood effectively during stressful situations.
Avoiding medicines that lower blood pressure
Since the drop in pressure causes you to lose consciousness, taking drugs to lower blood pressure will do you no good. You should seek medical advice first before taking or stopping medications.
Drinking plenty of fluids
By regulating water intake, you could increase blood volume. Also, as alcohol is associated with fainting and dehydration, it is best to avoid it.
Opt for a high salt diet
Since salt plays a significant role in fluid retention in the body, it will prevent the pressure drop.
The rise and fall of the diaphragm often relieve stress and anxiety. It will stimulate relaxation and thus halt the occurrence of stress.
All in All
Stress could cause an array of problems to people. And with the threat of memory loss and vasovagal syncope, it is best to avoid it. Although anxiety and worrying are relatively difficult to stop, there are many ways to control your thoughts. Hence, more than professional examination, knowing yourself and taking over your body reactions will pave more helpful in this circumstance.