Table 2

Stress Effects on Central Nervous System

Central Nervous SystemEffectsClinical Manifestation
Amygdala4750Hypersensitivity to stimuli coupling with dACCHypervigilance
Enhanced responses to future stress
Poorly regulated fear response
HPA Axis5154Overexposure to glucocorticoidsDepression
Altered gene expressionPanic
Loss of negative feedback mechanismObsessive-compulsive symptoms
Sensitization to stimuliFatigue
Habituation to cortisol or overproduction of cortisol
Hippocampus55Atrophy of Ammon’s HornDecreased declarative, contextual, and spatial memory
Reduced excitability
Inhibited neurogenesis
Decreased hippocampal volume
Allostasis51,52,56,5759Allostatic overloadNew stress baseline
Inability to maintain homeostasisInefficient management of stress response
Wear and tear of physiological systemsObesity
Neuronal remodelingCognitive impairment
  • dACC = dorsal anterior cingulate cortex

  • HPA = hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal