The paper analyzes the primary effects of stress on human health. The first section of the study outlines the concept of stress as well as estimates its ultimate causes. Moreover, the introductory part of the work refers to work-related factors of anxiety arousal. The body section of this paper assesses both mental and physical health implications that evolve as the direct consequences of chronic stresses. Furthermore, the problem of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is reviewed. Finally, the work provides some consistent strategies that are currently employed by leading psychologists in pursue of stress elimination.
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Introduction: Defining the Concept of Stress
The concept of stress is often defined in contrastive ways, due to the study area, which operates the notion. Thus, from psychology, stress denotes tension, and emotional instability. According to the scientific explanation that is reflected in medical theories, the concept of stress implies the process of combining corticotrophin-releasing hormone with the effectors of the ceruleus-norepinephrine system in response to certain factors (Chrousos & Gold, 2002).
Due to the biological perspective, stress is represented as any emotional, intellectual, or bodily aspect that leads to mental or physical pressure. The experts differentiate two major subtypes of stress, which define its primary sources. The first type, which is called external stress, is caused by various outside factors such as social opinion, environmental concerns, etc. In contrast to it, internal stress accounts for the feeling of tension as a follow-up of personal traumas or illnesses.
Any stressful condition can inflict some grave consequences on human health. For instance, it can result in depressions and anxiety. Therefore, it is crucial to address the issue on the primary level of its development by developing some consistent stress prevention programs.
In this paper, the concept of stress is elaborated in the context of multiple health implications that are determined by it. The work regards both mental and physical complications that follow the feeling of stress as well as reviews the evictions of Post-Traumatic Stress Disease (PTSD) that arise as a follow-up of the prolonged stress exposures.
The Primary Evictions of Stressful Conditions
The initial signs of stress are easily detectable since they are usually similar in a variety of patients. The primary evictions of stressful situations fall into four fundamental categories. The first area concerns cognitive symptoms. In other words, these are the features that regard the intellectual activity of an individual. Among the most typical cognitive signs of stress, one distinguishes lack of concentration, enhanced anxiety, problems with memory, negative and pessimistic thoughts that evolve without a particular reason.
Moreover, the problem is often reflected through poor intellectual performance and lack of reasoning. The symptoms are easily identifiable among people, whose sphere of activity includes mental work, which primarily regards students, scientists, and some other representatives of academic work domains. As for the individuals, who are mainly occupied with physical labor, the cognitive signs of stress may evolve in the course of their daily communications acts or primary calculation activities.
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The second area of stress evictions is united under the idea of emotional instability. The sphere of emotions provides the most vivid demonstration of stress characteristic features. Specifically, people, who stay in a prolonged stress-causing environment, tend to be short-tempered and easily irritable. Furthermore, they are likely to break with tears or outrage at any moment, without a particular cause. The individuals, who suffer from emotional instability, are vulnerable to social opinion.
They appear to be moody and excessively agitated. If such people are exposed to stress-provoking factors for a long time, they usually fall into prolonged depressions or become detached and isolated from the surrounding society.
The third group of stress signs unites the patterns of behavior that are adopted by the patients. In this area, one differentiates a change in fundamental habits such as eating, sleeping, or communication. Moreover, such symptoms predetermine an inclination to alcohol and drug use.
Finally, the last unity of stress evictions includes physical factors. Specifically, the experts dwell on sudden headaches, dizziness, and loss of sexual desires.
Causes of Stress
Stressful situations arise from a variety of living conditions. Some of them have a harmful influence on the mental, emotional, and physical activities of a person, which accounts for the evolving of stresses. The psychologists claim that the issue possesses an exceptional personal character since some people may get anxious or furious over the things, which are the sources of absolute indifference for the others. For instance, a real introvert probably gets nervous at the regular interruptions of his thoughts by the strangers in a bus and an extrovert, in contrast, is glad to receive a new portion of communication wherever and whenever he is.
Among the fundamental causes of stresses, one differentiates two broad categories, which encompass family-related issues and work environment stresses. The first area of reasons may include both positive and negative experiences such as marriage or divorce, a loss of a spouse or a childbearing as well as chronic illnesses, death of a friend, or emotional behavior modification. The work-related causes of stress primarily include such occasions as dangers susceptibility, advancement or termination, facing harassment, or being mistreated by the managers and coworkers.
Except for primary events that evoke stressful conditions, one discriminates four typical conduct patterns that are likely to inflict stress. Specifically, one might face some emotional difficulties as a follow-up of his world perceptions. Every person has an individual approach to certain things and events. Therefore, some individuals are likely to go through difficulties with dignity and good mood, and the others get hurt under a load of external pressures, which determines future stresses.
The second peculiarity of character that inflicts stress is the adoption of unrealistic expectations. Thus, if a person requires a constant satisfaction of one’s needs from within, this individual is likely to fall in regular depressions since life patterns are diverse and hard to be regulated. Third, people, who do not believe in their strengths and abilities, tend to fail in their undertakings, which lead to the creation of stressful environments. Finally, the individuals, who are not able to adapt to life changes, face stresses, since every modification becomes a source of anxiety and fear for them.
Work Environment Implications
The tensions of work environments create a consistent space for the active development of stresses. The problems evolve from multiple areas such as relationships between employees, the disruptive work conditions, or undertaking work missions and tasks. Nevertheless, one distinguishes some standard solutions that assist the workers in managing labor-related stresses. The primary rule of the favorable occupational environment creation is personal care.
Thus, every individual should be able to recognize the signs of physical, emotional, or intellectual instability so that to eradicate the problems in the initial stages of their development. Second, the correct identification of work pitfalls accounts for the prevention of stressful situations that can potentially lead to stress. Therefore, a satisfactory employee should adopt excellent organization and planning skills, which helps him to foresee the consequences of his actions at work.
Finally, the improvement of communication skills is a critical factor in the sphere of conflict resolution. Therefore, every dispute between human resources can be solved if the employees are efficient speakers, which leads to the prevention of stresses among certain individuals.
The Effects of Stress on Human Health
Chronic stresses, as well as single instances of depressions or excessive anxiety, may serve as a source of multiple health complications. It is especially dangerous if a person is susceptible to various stresses since the organism does not receive any rest. Consequently, the so-called state of distress evolves. In this section, we reveal the specifications of both mental health problems and intellectual disabilities, which stem from the evolvement of stressful conditions and distresses.
Mental Disorders as the Follow-ups of Stresses
According to the studies of psychologists, the effects of stress have some considerate impact on the functioning of the brain. The issue mainly concerns chronic stresses that may occur at any age. The most frequent conditions of stress adoption are periods of childhood, marriage, childbearing, and aging. The changes in mental activity that appear in the course of chronic stresses are often accompanied by some behavioral alterations. For instance, people tend to start eating too much, smoking, and drinking alcohol in response to prolonged stresses. Such states are called allostatic overloads. The condition is highly dangerous for human mentality, for it inflicts some changes in brain morphology and may create irreversible effects on health (McEwen, 2008).
For many years, it remained unclear for the scientists how they should measure the impact of stress on intellectual abilities. After numerous investigations, some experts concluded that a relation of stress to mentality has its physical revelation. Mainly, people, who possess a higher ration of white matter than gray matter in the brain, are affected by stress. The balance is disrupted by the failure in myelin production.
The conclusion is made based on an assumption, due to which the brain cells change its functions under stress. Mainly, they start producing an excessive amount of myelin, which extends the amounts of white matter. The tendency breaks the regular patterns of brain connections functioning. For instance, a shift in the functioning of cells produces some cognitive function problems, which, consequently, hinders the processes of logical thinking.
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A Factor of Stress as a Stimulator of Physical Health Damaging
The human body is also vulnerable to chronic stresses. Since the effects of mental disorders find their reflection in physical reaction, people, who are susceptible to chronic stresses, tend to experience such harmful symptoms as stomach pains, headaches, and blood pressure disorders. The signs of bodily problems serve as the signals of certain physical dysfunctions. For instance, the regular stomach aches can lead to the halting of normal nutrition, which subsequently provokes ulcer disease and gastritis.
The modification of blood pressure indexes shows susceptibility to heart attacks. Furthermore, stressful conditions are regularly connected with a loss of sleep. Insomnia is known to provoke some grave illnesses as well. Notably, the disorder accounts for such effects as heart attacks, high blood pressure, strokes, and diabetes. Moreover, the loss of sleep hinders a sex drive as well as causes a human body to produce too small portions of growth hormone. Finally, insomnia stimulates skin illnesses since it provokes an extensive release of cortisol, which damages skin collagen.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Health Implications
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a common syndrome that targets individuals, who were regularly exposed to stress in the past. The disease usually develops in diverse, dangerous settings such as the places of terrorist attacks, wars, and fighting conflicts. Moreover, the illness accounts for individual cases of personal losses, cruelty, or anxiety-related situations. The disease may be identified if a person reacts with fear and distress to the signals of threat. The psychologists state that a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorders relies on three fundamental symptoms such as avoidance of reentering the event, mental re-experiencing, and hyperarousal (Yehuda, 2002).
Fear of experiencing stresses is revealed in trying to avoid people, things, or practices that might steer up unpleasant feelings. The process of mental reexperiencing usually evolves in a form of unpleasant dreams or visions that inflict recollections of stressful conditions. The issue of hyperarousal concerns the problem of insomnia, which is connected with the recounting of negative practices.
The crisis of post-traumatic disorders dwells on psychological aspects. Thus, traumatism is often inflicted by a person. In other words, some individuals tend to forget about stressful situations without any consistent fear of reentering the experience. In contrast, vulnerable patients are likely to face post-traumatic stress disorders even many years after a stressful event. Therefore, one of the major preconditions of PTSD elimination is the ability to recover from tragic incidents. Quite often, the skill is gained through the practice of deliberate stress reentering, which gradually reduces the level of fear and anxiety.
Except for psychology-related factors that stipulate the PTSD susceptibility, one differentiates a range of biological factors. For instance, the experts claim that people, who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorders, reveal an increased reactivity of adrenergic receptors as well as possess an enhanced level of norepinephrine.
Treatment of post-traumatic stress disorders has long become one of the major medical concerns. A wide range of studies on the issue has been conducted by the leading scientists. A consistent summary of existent treatment approaches reveals that the dominating method of recovery therapy is a trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy (TFCBT). Due to the evidence of different approaches verification, TFCBT regards the roots of stress arousal and aims at helping the patients to overcome the subsequent revelations of PTSD. The medical specialists dwell that an extremely appropriate period for the therapy application is from two to five months after the traumatic event (Bisson & Andrew, 2007).
The Concept of Stress in Multicultural Practices
The conception of stress possesses not only psychological meaning but refers to diverse cultural settings and social norms of different countries as well. For instance, the quality of life, as well as the values of the surrounding community, often stipulates the number of stressors in separate states. A sophisticated examination of the health conditions of females from diverse continents revealed that women from Africa are susceptible to stresses in depressions in 85 life situations out of 100, which may be exclaimed by the instances of harassment and hard work conditions that exist on the continent.
Moreover, the study showed that almost half of American females are stress-prone, due to the lack of rest and high-quality food as well as the overall business, which characterizes the citizens of the USA. Therefore, one may say that human behavior is widely determined by social settings (Hobfoll, 2004).
Stress Management and Prevention of Stressful Situations
The adoption of some efficient stress management strategies helps people in controlling their emotions and, subsequently, prevents numerous depression-related deceases.
Before determining the facts that may be helpful in the process of stress reduction, one should outline the strategies that are harmful for depression elimination. Specifically, it must be noted that such habits as smoking, alcohol drinking, overeating, and using sedative pills never contribute to the process of successful stress prevention but rather serve as the short-term anxiety treatment techniques. Moreover, the adoption of such habits may produce some negative influences on human health.
The contemporary psychologists distinguish several strategic acts that are both beneficial to the general development of a person and efficient in addressing stressful situations.
The primary method of stress management is the usage of movement as a relax-promoting activity. The notion may imply any physical activity. Thus, if an individual is a sportive, he is usually recommended to do a favorite kind of sport so that to reduce anxiety. In other cases, dancing and jumping may become a decent substitution for basketball or tennis. The strategy is beneficial for stress-prone patients since the activation of muscle work accounts for the reduction of emotional instability.
Second, it is claimed that social interaction is a consistent solution to chronic depressions. Communication often serves as a guarantee of protection for many people. Moreover, in the course of the interaction, a person may recount one’s fears and doubts to another person, which promotes a joint analysis of the problem. However, one should be cautious while choosing a collocutor. Thus, it is not recommended to share one’s concerns with people, who might have some secret offense on a speaker, for their opinions can be subjective and will not assist in finding solutions to stress.
Finally, chronic stresses may be reduced through the consistent avoidance of factors, which account for the infliction of depressions. For instance, if a person suffers from constant work pressures, it is recommended to change the job so that to avoid the harmful consequences of stress complications.
Conclusion: Summarizing the Impacts of Stressful Conditions
The analysis of stress effects reveals some consistent health implications. Thus, the work identifies four target areas, which promotes an understanding of stress-related complications. These are the dimensions of emotions, behavior, as well as physical and mental health. According to the findings of the analysis, stress-prone individuals tend to face such problems as insomnia, heart pressure disorders, anxiety enhancement, etc. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is known as an outcome of chronic stress. In the final part of this work, the major ways of stress treatment were evaluated. As a result, it may be concluded that trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy, as well as a range of beneficial habits, assist in the pursue of anxiety reduction.
Bisson, J., & Andrew, M. (2007). Psychological treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 3(1), 1-46.
Chrousos, G., & Gold, P. (2002). The concepts of stress and stress system disorders. Overview of physical and behavioral homeostasis. The Journal of the American Medical Association, 267(9), 1244-1252.
Hobfoll, S. (2004). Stress, culture, and community: The psychology and philosophy of stress. New York: Springer Science & Business Media.
McEwen, B. (2008). Central effects of stress hormones in health and disease: Understanding the protective and damaging effects of stress and stress mediators. European Journal of Pharmacology, 2(3), 174-185.
Yehuda, R. (2002). Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. The New England Journal of Medicine, 34(6), 108-114.