Stress is the body’s natural defense against predators and danger. It causes the body to flood with hormones that prepare its systems to evade or confront danger. People commonly refer to this as the fight-or-flight mechanism.The body’s fight-or-flight mechanism tells a person when and how to respond to danger.
When humans face a challenge or threat, they have a partly physical response. The body activates resources that help people either stay and confront the challenge or get to safety as fast as possible.
Stress is a natural feeling of not being able to cope with specific demands and events. These demands can come from work, relationships, financial pressures, and other situations, but anything that poses a real or perceived challenge or threat to a person’s well-being can cause stress. It can be a motivator, and it can even be essential to survival.
• Acute stress
This type of stress is short-term and usually the more common form of stress. Acute stress often develops when people consider the pressures of events that have recently occurred or face upcoming challenges in the near future.Short-term effects include tension headaches and an upset stomach, as well as a moderate amount of distress.
For example, a person may feel stressed about a recent argument or an upcoming deadline. However, it will reduce or disappear once a person resolves the argument or meets the deadline.
• Chronic Stress
This type of condition develops over a long period and is more harmful.
Ongoing poverty, a dysfunctional family, or an unhappy marriage are examples of situations that can cause chronic stress. It occurs when a person can see no way to avoid their stressors and stops seeking solutions. A traumatic experience early in life may also contribute to chronic stress.
Chronic stress makes it difficult for the body to return to a normal level of stress hormone activity, which can contribute to problems in the following systems – cardiovascular, respiratory, sleep, immune, reproductive.
A constant state of stress can also increase a person’s risk of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), can develop when stress becomes chronic.
Chronic stress can continue unnoticed, as people can become used to feeling agitated and hopeless. It can become part of an individual’s personality, making them constantly prone to the effects of stress regardless of the scenarios that they encounter.
People with chronic stress are at risk of having a final breakdown that can lead to suicide, violent actions, a heart attack, or stroke.
Stress is not always easy to recognize, but there are some ways to identify some signs that you might be experiencing too much pressure. Sometimes it can come from an obvious source, but sometimes even small daily stresses from work, school, family, and friends can take a toll on your mind and body.
If you think stress might be affecting you, there are a few things you can watch for:
• Psychological signs such as difficulty concentrating, worrying, anxiety, and trouble remembering
• Emotional signs such as being angry, irritated, moody, or frustrated
• Physical signs such as high blood pressure, changes in weight, frequent colds or infections, and changes in the menstrual cycle and libido
• Behavioral signs such as poor self-care, not having time for the things you enjoy, or relying on drugs and alcohol to cope
Some typical causes of acute or chronic stress include –
• living through a natural or manmade disaster
• living with chronic illness
• surviving a life-threatening accident or illness
• being the victim of a crime
• experiencing familial stressors such as:
• an abusive relationship
• an unhappy marriage
• prolonged divorce proceedings
• child custody issues
• caregiving for a loved one with a chronic illness like dementia
• living in poverty or being homeless
• working in a dangerous profession
• having little work-life balance, working long hours, or having a job you hate
• military deployment
There’s no end to the things that can cause a person stress because they’re as varied as people are. Whatever the cause, the effect on the body can be serious if left unmanaged.
Treatment includes self-help and, when an underlying condition is causing stress, certain medications.
Doctors will not usually prescribe medications for coping with stress, unless they are treating an underlying illness, such as depression or an anxiety disorder. In such cases, they may prescribe an antidepressant. However, there is a risk that the medication will only mask the condition, rather than help the person deal with it.
People may find that the following lifestyle measures can help them manage or prevent stress-induced feelings of being overwhelmed.
• Reducing the intake of alcohol, drugs, and caffeine: These substances will not help prevent stress, and they can make it worse.
• Nutrition: A healthful, balanced diet containing plenty of fruit and vegetables can help maintain the immune system at times of stress. A poor diet can lead to ill health and additional worry.
• Priority management: It may help to spend a little time organizing a daily to-do list and focusing on urgent or time sensitive tasks. People can then focus on what they have completed or accomplished for the day, rather than on the tasks they have yet to complete.
• Time: People should set aside some time to organize their schedules, relax, and pursue their own interests.
• Breathing and relaxation: Meditation, massage, and yoga can help. Breathing and relaxation techniques can slow down the heart rate and promote relaxation. Deep breathing is also a central part of mindfulness meditation.
• Talking: Sharing feelings and concerns with family, friends, and work colleagues may help a person “let off steam” and reduce feelings of isolation. Other people may be able to suggest unexpected, workable solutions to the stressor.
• Acknowledging the signs: A person can be so anxious about the problem causing the such condition that they do not notice the effects on their body. It is important to be mindful of any changes.
For more informative articles on Psychological health and other health related issues, please visit our website www.santripty.com and also feel free to consult with our experienced team of doctors.