Stress is the Silent Killer

Stress has been labeled “The Silent Killer” because its effects may not be evidenced until it has been operating in a person’s life for some while. Recent research has linked stress to many of today’s diseases … whether as a cause or a factor in their origins. Let me exemplify this point with a personal encounter with stress. I have had to deal with an illness that was originally undiagnosable but after seeking out several physicians found that it had to do with my immune system which governs most of the body’s functions resulting in different types of physical problems.

Physicians did not assess the importance of stress but through years of research and work with clients, I was able to determine how stress played an important part in my medical problem. Interestingly, the major stressor was a plan that my wife and I had made to go into a semi-retirement mode by moving from the Buffalo, NY area to Florida. Although this was seemingly a positive decision which would benefit our lifestyle, the change proved too much for my immune system.

Although I believed that I was ready to make the move, the stress of closing a private practice, moving out of a home that we both enjoyed, leaving our relatives and friends and making the long distance move with all of the “if anything can go wrong” events that usually occur in such a process was just too much for me. However, I believed that I was handling everything quite well. It was a positive event that would allow us the benefit of living in “paradise”. But I learned that even positive and beneficial decisions can have a negative effect. I guess I fell into the old adage of “physician heal thyself” where instead of using preventive measures as I have taught others, I fell prey to the stressors that I encountered.

This also points up the fact that the process that stress takes is insidious. Initially it occurs without any “hard signs” that are easily diagnosable or treatable and so it become undetectable. In my case, the pressure of all of the changes noted above resulted in my drawing an “blind eye” to what had to be going on despite my training in the area of stress management. Sometimes we just get too busy to notice what isn’t good for us.

Thankfully, I found both an internist who believes in treating both the physical and emotional elements of the human body as well as a specialist who were well aware of the stress factor in people’s lives. My work with them along with taking some short term medication as well as my familiarity with stress reduction methods began to take hold placing my problem in remission. I was fortunate but many others who suffer from stress-related symptoms are not. I have treated people who have become disabled to the point of their inability to function at all and having to depend on others to meet their needs … needs that they had previously met for themselves. I also am aware of people who have died from major illnesses, suffered from severe anxiety and depression and suicided as a result of the stress in their lives.

And thus, the title STRESS: THE SILENT KILLER evolved from my own personal experience.


Both as a consultant and author, Charles Bonasera’s story-telling have motivated people to change patterns and resolve problems in their lives. All of his books contain valuable, practical lessons that people can easily apply to bettering and managing their lifestyles. He has also written a myriad of articles which can be found on his website at www.charlesmbonasera.com.

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