Stress Essay, Research Paper
By: Puja M.
This research paper explains stress and its causes and cures. The research paper will attempt to determine whether there is an effective way to cure stress. Stress is an integral part of life. The complete absence of any stress results in death. Stress plays a key role in daily life, influencing – if not governing – happiness, productivity and health. Stress is known to cause various psychiatric disorders involving anxiety and depression, including posttraumatic stress disorder, major depression, generalized anxiety, and multiple personality disorders.This research will also attempt to explain ways to cure the illness’s caused by Stress.
The more stress one puts on thereselves the weaker one’s immune system becomes. With a weakened immune system we become susceptible to disease and injury. Stress is an adaptive response. It’s the body’s reaction to an event that is seen as emotionally disturbing, disquieting, or threatening. To prepare for an event, the body increases its heart rate and blood pressure; more blood is then sent to your heart and muscles, and your respiration rate increases. . In the first stage of stress, alarm, the body mobilizes its “fight or flight” defenses, either to resist the stress-causing factor or adapt to it. In this stage, the pituitary-adrenocortical system pours hormones into the bloodstream. The pulse quickens, the lungs take in more oxygen to fuel the muscles, blood sugar increases to supply added energy, digestion slows, and perspiration increases. In the second stage of stress, resistance, the body begins to repair the incidental damage caused by the arousal in the alarm stage. If the stressful situation is resolved, the stress symptoms vanish. If the stressful situation continues, however, a third stage, exhaustion, sets in, and the body’s adaptive energy runs out. This stage can continue until some vital organs are affected, and then disease or even death can occur.
There are three types of stress, mental, physical, chemical. These different variations of stress all cause similar effects to one’s body. Each of these stresses can come from many sources. Most of these have appeared as a primary threat in our environment. Mental stress occurs from a shock as severe as the death of a loved one or from a simple thing like a faulty alarm clock making one late for work. Physical stress on the body can be caused by anything from not getting adequate sleep to a severe whiplash injury from a car accident. In addition, there is a chemical stress which may come from environmental pollution, the side affects of medications or even consumption of overly refined food. Compounding all this is the tension cycle, in which mental stress triggers physical stress or vice versa, leading to a downward spiral of health and happiness and an increasingly painful series of symptoms.
Mental stress and Physical Stress are linked due to the fact that if one has mental stress it can cause physical stress. Man’s response to psychological stress differs little from sources of potential physical harm (i.e., with surges of adrenaline, a rise in blood pressure and heart rate, and a 4x increase in blood flow to the muscles needed to fight or run away.) Physical symptoms may include a headache, upset stomach, muscle tension, neck or backache, rapid breathing, sweaty palms, and exhaustion. Mentally, you may feel distracted, have trouble concentrating, be illogical or forgetful, or you may have scary thoughts or feel suspicious. You may become easily irritated and impatient, or you may feel tense, depressed, angry or alone. You may have difficulty sleeping.
Chemical Stress, however, is cause from manmade substances or objects. our body to make a certain number and quality of enzymes, antibodies, and hormones. These are the end products. The raw materials to make these end products come from our foods. Lack of a suffiecient diet can cause chemical stress. Chemical stress can also come from pesticides, insecticides, polluted air and water, heavy metals such as mercury or lead, asbestos and artificial food additives.
Stress in general causes the immune system to weaken to a great extent. There are many health problems related to diminished immune systems including allergies and susceptibility to different diseases such as fungus and yeast infections. With the premature degeneration the stress will cause an acceleration in the aging and the break down of tissues. Physical consequnces such as cellular damage is caused by highly unstable molecules called free radicals. Because of the highly unstable nature of the “free radicals”, they can be extremely toxic and are a primary result of stress that undermine the immune system and threaten health. Ironically, the body’s immune system produces these highly toxic free radicals in minute amounts because they are essential for the immune system to remove a virus or bacteria. It is only when high concentration of free radicals are present, or when the level of free radicals overwhelm the body’s ability to remove them, does a threat to health occur. Maintaining the balance between free radical activity and antioxidant enzyme supply is one of the important functions of the body.
It is in the cell where free radicals are created and do the most damage. In the case of the immune system, this random circulation of the free radicals (molecules with an unpaired electron which is seeking to bind with any and everything) cause communication break down between the immune system cells and the body, thus weakening or wiping out some of their signals. Simply put excess amounts of the free radicals create chemical reactions at the wrong place at the wrong time causing havoc with the cellular environment. In doing so, the excess amounts of the free radicals cause break down of the immune systems (i.e.allergic reaction or auto immune reaction). You may ask then, why would there be excesses amounts of these free radicals created. It would be easier to consider the fact that the factors related to release of excess amount of the free radicals are mostly originated from modern advancements in our society such as chemical preservatives in the food or the polluted air and water. Then it is simple to see why so many individuals can not over come the threats posed by germs, viruses or abnormal cell growth (like cancer). Again, stress (of all types) and the resultant free radicals are a primary cause in weakening of the immune system and accelerated degenerative process.
There are two kinds of stress. Good Stress, positive reinforcement for human nature and Bad Stress that causes diseases. Major causes of stress include illness, job changes, moving, separations and divorces, deaths in the family, and financial difficulties. But even joyous events, like marriage, the arrival of a baby, or entertaining guests, can be stressful.
Stress also appears associated with heart disease. While evidence to date does not suggest that stress management strategies can be the sole therapy to prevent or treat cardiovascular disease, some stress reduction techniques, when used regularly, can be a valuable adjunct to other behavioral, dietary, and medical interventions for reducing the risks of heart disease.Stress is also related to blood pressure.Tension and hypertension are not the same thing. Hypertension is the medical term for high blood pressure. You can have high blood pressure without feeling stressed or tense. However, continual stress may lead to permanently elevated blood pressure.
Stress is also associated with the the nervous system. We showed that stress activates a group of noradrenergic neurons in the brainstem that project widely to other regions of the central nervous system. When these neurons are stimulated by stress, they release transmitter norepinephrine which, in addition to arousing the brain, causes the activation of the c-fos gene in the noradrenergic target cells. The c-fos protein, in turn, is known to activate other genes that may produce prolonged changes in the function of the brain to stress is a key event in causing persistent psychiatric disorders following stress.