Author: Patricia Bratianu RN PhD RH-AHG
Are you anxious, depressed, or have an upset stomach a lot? Maybe you are experiencing weight gain, high blood pressure or diarrhea. Do you get frequent headaches? Do you suffer from insomnia? All of these health issues may be caused by a toxic relationship.
When we speak of unhealthy relationships, usually what comes to mind is a relationship with a romantic partner. While that certainly may be the culprit, an unhealthy relationship may be with a friend, your boss, or a parent.
Stress related illnesses are on the rise. Stress doesn’t just make you feel bad; it is toxic for your body. Anxiety disorders affect millions of people. Anxiety can cause all of the symptoms above plus many more.
Stress changes the way that your body metabolizes nutrients. It can actually promote weight gain. You may eat more due to stress. Often, when stressed we reach for high fat, high calorie, sweet comfort foods that are full of empty calories. Weight gain puts us at an increased risk for development of heart disease and diabetes. More and more research is linking cancer to unhealthy nutrition and stress.
During periods of stress, we require extra nutrients such as B vitamins so we do not become deficient. If you experience gastrointestinal symptoms such as upset stomach or diarrhea, your body is not absorbing nutrients properly. Your digestive tract may become inflamed. We have all heard of people who develop ulcers because of too much stress.
Digestive health is also linked with the health of our immune system. If you have unhealthy digestion due to an unhealthy relationship, your immune system can not work at its best. If your immune system is not up to par, you may be at risk of serious illnesses and you are definitely more likely to catch the latest "bug" going around. Colds, flus and other upper respiratory illnesses may result.
If your digestion is disturbed, your intestinal flora may become unbalanced. Chronic diarrhea or constipation may result. You may also find that you get more frequent urinary tract or yeast infections.
Stress related headaches are painful results of unhealthy relationships. Migraines may be triggered by stress.
If you are in an unhealthy relationship, you may be tempted to use alcohol or other substances to help you cope. While you may feel better for a few hours, substance abuse may result. That puts you at risk for a multitude of health problems, including liver disease and increased risk of injury due to accidents. It also worsens depression and anxiety.
So if you are in an unhealthy relationship, you need to look at it honestly. Can it realistically be repaired or do you need to get out of the relationship? Ask for help. Take care of yourself. Make time to nurture yourself each day. Build healthy relationships with friends. Eat healthy. Go for a walk. Take care of you first. You are worth it.