The Long-term and Short-term Effects of Anxiety and Stress

Experiencing stress and anxiety on occasion is completely normal and shouldn’t have any long-lasting effects on your health, but you might be surprised to learn that chronic stress and anxiety over long periods of time are believed to contribute to a number of serious health issues. However, there is a difference between a regular and healthy feeling of anxiety or anxiety that takes over your life so you no longer function, the differences between normal and problem anxiety are outlined here.

To better understand the adverse effects of persistent stress and anxiety, let’s take a look at some of their short-term and long-term effects.


Simply put, anxiety is an intense feeling of nervousness and worry. It’s our body’s natural reaction to anticipation and uncertainty, and it can often be helpful to us. For example, feeling anxious about a test you have coming up may push you to study harder for it. It’s only when the anxiety becomes so excessive and persistent as to hinder the sufferer’s way of life that we consider it to be a form of disorder, such as OCD or Panic Disorder. A particular type of anxiety is called “Health anxiety”, also called hypochondria, another type of anxiety children suffer from is “back-to-school anxiety”, which occurs when children are anxious to go back to school. Some people try positive affirmations for anxiety, which is proven to reduce anxiety in patients suffering from it.

Read “5 Healthy ways to distract yourself from anxiety” >>


A great and simple idea is to buy Post-its and hang them on your fridge. You write down all the positive affirmations you can think of, you are fooling your brain into repeating only positive thoughts, by doing that you are pushing away the negative thoughts.

Find our shortlist of 50 Positive affirmations here >>

Short-term Effects 

In the short-term, anxiety sufferers can experience an increase in blood pressure, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, shaking, upset stomach, dizziness, and fatigue.

Long-term Effects 

When someone suffers from an anxiety disorder, and experiences elevated levels of anxiety for prolonged periods of time, it can lead to a number of health issues. It’s believed that the release of the hormones norepinephrine and cortisol are to blame for many of the health issues related to chronic anxiety, including heart disease, migraines, gastrointestinal problems, and issues with memory. Persistent anxiety is also believed to be associated with an overall weakening of the immune system.

Different type of treatment options >>


Stress is a feeling of tension that can be either emotional or physical.  It’s caused by a specific event, known as a “stressor”, which elicits unpleasant and overwhelming emotions. Like anxiety, stress is a normal reaction and it can often prove useful. Stress can tell us we’re in danger and push us to take swift action to protect ourselves. However, excessive stress can be detrimental to our health, and extremely traumatic stress can lead to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Tips for the treatment of anxiety >>

Short-term Effects of Stress

Stress can cause increased blood pressure, heart palpitations, headaches, muscle aches, shortness of breath, perspiration, and dry mouth.

Long-term Effects of Stress

Just like during an anxiety attack, the body releases norepinephrine and cortisol when a stressor causes a stress response. The body generally returns to normal levels of stress once the stressor is no longer present, but in cases of persistent stress, the body loses its ability to turn off the stress response, leading to a wide variety of serious health issues. Chronic stress can weaken the immune system, and cause heart disease, gastrointestinal issues, insomnia, skin issues, memory problems, and more.

The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. If you are in a crisis or any other person may be in danger,  these resources can provide you with immediate help:
Suicide and Crisis Lifeline 988
24 Hour Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1.800.273.8255
Crisis Text Line Text TALK to 741741