How Tax Day Stress Affects Your Brain

Featured Article, Healthy Living, Mental Health & Sleep Center
on April 15, 2012

A number of studies have shown that stressful life events can lead to shrinkage in the parts of the brain that regulate emotions and metabolism. Chronic stress has the most impact, according to Yale University researchers in a story reported on, leading to dramatic changes in brain volume in areas that have been linked to depression, anxiety and other mood disorders.

But even short-term stress has been shown to compromise brain-cell communication in areas that affect learning and memory in research at the University of California, Irvine.

Beyond the brain, the kind of pressure sparked by Tax Day deadlines can, over time, lead to serious health issues. Dr. Florence Comite, a Manhattan endocrinologist whose practice specializes in age management, has witnessed the effects of what increasing stress can do to the body—even at the cellular level. “I’ve seen examples of this in a number of my patients,” she says. “With stress, the body is more prone to infection, inflammation, more rapid aging; and an impaired carbohydrate (sugar) metabolism.”

Got Tax Day stress? Nip it in the bud with one of our 55 Ways to Stop Freaking Out.