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How Constantly Fighting Affects Your Health

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We love creating a larger dialogue about health by discussing the many aspects that are interrelated. Thankfully, there is increasing awareness of the necessity for a healthy diet, regular exercise, mental and emotional health, and effective medication to all work together for the best overall health. Each element affects the others, and we are examining the role that an unhealthy relationship can play in your health if you are constantly fighting.

Woman with anxiety CanadianPharmacyMeds.comIf you are in a relationship where there is constant conflict and unhealthy fighting (because healthy relationships allow for safe conflict and fighting), it is, quite simply, stressful. There is normal stress that is a part of our everyday life, and there is healthy stress that alerts us to danger or a need to fight or flight. When your body is under a constant, heightened state of stress from an  unhealthy relationship, it will negatively impact your body.

When you are upset, it is not contained to your feelings. Your brain recognizes the stress and alerts the nervous system to release cortisol and epinephrine, often referred to as the stress hormones. These hormones affect  different systems and reactions in the body in many ways, from subtle to serious. We go over some of the ways stress from a poor relationship shows up in your body below:

How Fighting Affects Your Body

  • Respiratory Issues: If you have a condition such as asthma, the effects of a stressful fight can be more than emotionally upsetting. Stress causes faster, shorter breaths, which can trigger an asthma attack, hyperventilation or a panic attack if you already have respiratory symptoms.
  • Stomach Pain: people may find stress shows up in stomach pain and nausea. Continual fighting and stress can lead to ulcers, and you may even throw up from an especially upsetting fight.
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Chronic stress can be problematic on your digestive system. How well and how quickly you digest food can be negatively affected. Diarrhea or constipation can become more common with regular emotional distress.
  • Increased Risk for Diabetes. When you’re upset from regular hostile conversations, your liver pumps out more glucose into the blood stream. This excess glucose increases your blood sugar levels, which can make you more prone to diabetes, especially if you are already at risk due to genetics or obesity.
  • Increased blood pressure. When your heart is racing from a heated argument with your partner, this shows you how easily your blood pressure can be affected by emotional distress. Research supports that people in happy marriages have lower blood pressure while people in unhappy marriages have higher blood pressure.
  • Cardiovascular problems can result from high blood pressure. You may become at risk for stroke and heart attack. Studies have found that you are at risk of having higher levels of coronary artery calcification if you are in a marriage where you do not feel taken care of or understood.
  • Muscle Pain: your muscles are naturally wired to tense up under stress. When you are constantly stressed, it stands to reason that your muscles are constantly tightened. This can lead to headaches, overall muscle pain, and neck and back pain.
  • Clinical Depression can occur due to natural chemical imbalance, but it can also develop from an ongoing negative situation, such as an unhealthy relationship. Clinical depression can negatively impact your energy, ability to focus at work, everyday mood, motivation to exercise and eat well, and ability to sleep or socialize.
  • Poor Sexual and Reproductive Health can be affected by physical and mental stress. You may experience loss of sexual desire. Women may have painful, irregular or missed menstrual cycles. Men may have increased testosterone during initial stress, but chronic stress will lead to decreased erectile dysfunction and higher risk of prostate and testes infection.

How to Improve an Unhealthy Relationship

Working with a professional counsellor can be a helpful way to begin shifting your relationship with yourself and your partner into a more positive place. Of course, you can and should also be in conversation with your doctor, who can help give you good perspective on the consequences of a stressful relationship on your body and your specific conditions.

We hope the list above helps you to see the very real ways that a stressful relationship affects your physical, mental, and emotional health. Do take care of any area of your life that impacts your overall health!

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