Skip to content
Q. Why do some people gain weight when they feel
stressed?A. People who eat in response to stress
are likely to find themselves packing on pounds for the same
reason other people gain weight – because they are eating more
calories than they are burning. However research also suggests
that chronic stress raises the level of chemicals that increase
appetite, especially for food rich in carbohydrates.
Q. Are you more likely to get sick when you are
stressed?A. Several studies have concluded that
you may be more likely to get a cold when you are under stress.
Although other research has shown that both short- and long-term
stress affects particular immune system cells, it's not yet clear
whether this increases the risk of disease.
Q. Why does my stomach hurt when I'm feeling
stressed?A. A combination of psychological and
physical factors can trigger gastrointestinal pain and other
symptoms. Gastric acid secretion can increase, which may lead to
heartburn and inflammation of the esophagus. Stress can also
cause abnormal contractions in the small intestine and colon,
which may result in abdominal discomfort.
Crits-Christoph P, et al. "The National Institute on Drug Abuse
Collaborative Cocaine Treatment Study. Rationale and Methods,"
Archives of General Psychiatry (Aug. 1997): Vol. 54, No. 8, pp.
Crits-Christoph P, et al. "Mediators of Outcome of Psychosocial
Treatments for Cocaine Dependence," Journal of Consulting and
Clinical Psychology (Oct. 2003): Vol. 71, No. 5, pp. 918–25.
Weiss RD, et al. "The Effect of 12-Step Self-Help Group
Attendance and Participation on Drug Use Outcomes Among
Cocaine-Dependent Patients," Drug and Alcohol Dependence (Feb.
14, 2005): Vol. 77, No. 2, pp. 177–84.
Makhlouf A, et al. "Depression and Erectile Dysfunction,"
Urologic Clinics of North America (Nov. 2007): Vol. 34, No. 4,
Nurnberg HG, et al. "Treatment of Antidepressant-Associated
Sexual Dysfunction with Sildenafil: A Randomized Controlled
Trial," Journal of the American Medical Association (Jan. 1,
2003): Vol. 289, No. 1, pp. 56–64.
Segraves RT. "Sexual Dysfunction Associated with Antidepressant
Therapy," Urologic Clinics of North America (Nov. 2007): Vol. 34,
No. 4, pp. 575–79.
Duckworth AL, et al. "Positive Psychology in Clinical Practice,"
Annual Review of Clinical Psychology (2005): pp. 629–51.
Fava GA. "Well-Being Therapy: Conceptual and Technical Issues,"
Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics (1999): Vol. 68, No. 4, pp.
Fava GA, et al. "Well-being Therapy of Generalized Anxiety
Disorder," Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics (2005): Vol. 74, No.
1, pp. 26–30.
Finn CT, et al. "Psychiatric Genetics: A Survey of Psychiatrists'
Knowledge, Opinions, and Practice Patterns," Journal of Clinical
Psychiatry (July 2005): Vol. 66, No. 7, pp. 821–30.
Lohmueller KE, et al. "Meta-Analysis of Genetic Association
Studies Supports a Contribution of Common Variants to
Susceptibility to Common Disease," Nature Genetics (Feb. 2003):
Vol. 33, No. 2, pp. 177–82.
Samani NJ, et al. "Genomewide Association Analysis of Coronary
Artery Disease," New England Journal of Medicine (Aug. 2, 2007):
Vol. 357, No. 5, pp. 443–53.
Positive psychology techniques attempt to shift away from traditional psychotherapy's focus on negative emotions, and encourage patients to emphasize their personal strengths and positive emotions.
A genetic testing kit for bipolar disorder is now available to consumers, but because of the many variables involved in genetics, even if a particular gene is identified, it does not necessarily mean that person will go on to develop the disorder.
A study comparing several forms of treatment for cocaine
addiction found that while all treatments resulted in decreased
drug use, those that focused on changing behavior were more
Antidepressant medications can decrease libido or impair sexual function. Sometimes this can be overcome by switching medications, changing dosage, or waiting to see if the effect diminishes over time.
A review of studies indicated that music therapy may be an
effective treatment for depression. Because the studies
considered were small, this technique may prove to be most
effective in combination with other therapies.
Researchers found a correlation between the deletion or
duplication of a section of genes on one particular chromosome
and an increased risk of a child developing an autism disorder.
Results of a survey of people in 17 countries suggest that people
with arthritis are more likely to suffer from depression or a
related anxiety disorder such as social phobia.
An analysis of the lyrics of popular songs found that
approximately 40% had some sort of reference to drug or alcohol
use. Whether or not this has any effect on the behavior of
teenagers is unclear.