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Whenever I have a really stressful event coming up, I get sick. And the bigger the event, the sicker I become. It has happened to me several times, culminating with one super illness about two years ago. My band was slated to play at a graduation party. We had been practicing for about two years, and hadn't added anything new recently. So no reason for stressing, right? But, sure enough, about two weeks before the show, my throat closed up with such bad tonsillitis that I had trouble eating yogurt. I had to go to the doctor and get antibiotics just to be able to swallow saliva! So, my question, is it possible to make yourself physically sick from stress? Or are these times in my life just coincidences?

Rex asked this
April 9, 2012 at 9:18 AM



Rex - I'd say from personal experience it can!

I don't think I've ever been as sick as I was preparing for this HUGE project that would make up 30% of our grade in college. For just this one class I wrote a 60 page marketing plan (which required a LOT of research) for a business I invented, made a powerpoint presentation, and prepared a speech - all by myself, with what was most likely pneumonia though I didn't have health insurance to do anything about it. The speech was probably the worst part. I have horrible performance anxiety. I'll blush like crazy, start mixing up words, saying thing backwards... BAD.

Erin Froehlich answered
April 9, 2012 at 12:12 PM

Well, I'm glad I'm not the only one. I was starting to think it was all a coincidence, but maybe not! I know that since I have been trying to curb my body's reaction to stress, I haven't been sick once. What a weird thing to happen to a body!

Rex answered
April 9, 2012 at 12:17 PM

Hi Rex- I tell my patients that stress is like a magnifying glass that sits atop everything. Studies have shown that chronic stress can negatively impact our imune system through modulation of a hormone in the body called cortisol. The best way to combat inevitable stress is to take care of yourself deliberately in other ways like proper sleep, diet and some exercise.

Jeffrey VanWingen M.D. Health Coach answered
April 17, 2012 at 10:54 PM

Thanks for the ideas! I will try my best to put those in motion, especially when I have something really stressful coming up!

Rex answered
April 18, 2012 at 12:14 PM

Rex, There is no doubt that stress and physical health are linked. Here is a link to a blog I wrote about it.

Stay Healthy, Dr. Jeff MD

Dr. Jeff Chamberlain, MD Health Coach answered
April 18, 2012 at 7:59 PM

Wow! Thanks for pointing me to that blog, Dr. Jeff! I really appreciate it. I figured that this is probably what was happening to me. I'm glad to have some research to back it up. I will make sure to keep myself on the right path when I feel stressful times coming up.

Thanks again!

Rex answered
April 20, 2012 at 9:10 AM
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