Posts Tagged ‘acute stresses’

The Effects of Stress on the Body and Health

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009

People feel stressed very frequently and in many different situations. The majority of stresses are connected with our activities at workplace, as well as with various family matters or emotional connections. Stress is one of the biggest social problems of modern society, along with obesity, AIDS and substance abuse. It is important to learn at least essential information about this issue and be prepared to fight against stresses, which regularly occur in our daily life.

Stressed up womanEverything that causes stresses is called stressor. According to this, there are external (physical) and internal (emotional) stresses. Also, it is important to distinguish acute and chronic stresses. Acute stress is a singular reaction of our mind on probable threat or disturbance, like noise, crowd, ailment, infection, danger, etc. Chronic stress is a chain of stress conditions, which can be caused by permanent disturbance, like continuous pressure at workplace or long-lasting emotional crises, etc.

Of course, stresses affect our health, mind and body to a great extent. First and simple signs of stress include anxiety, short-temper, low moral, temperature rise, changes of blood pressure, stomachache, headache, and so on. If the stress is not very hard and the stressed person is quite resistive to the negative influences of the stressors, stress condition will possibly end in a short while with total relaxation. Specialists suggest that light stresses are even useful, because they can refresh our mind, mobilize our energy and boost our performance and productivity.

However, sometimes, acute stresses can be very strong and sudden. They can be caused by very distressing reasons, like, for example, an information about a sudden death of somebody dearly loved, or a sudden threat to own survival. In such cases, stress can cause very strong effects on human mind and body, and result in nervous breakdown, hysteria, panic or dead faint, and even more serious conditions. In the worst situation, some physical damage, like a heart attack or a heart disease, can take place.

Chronic stresses, as a rule, affect our health greater. They are more likely to result in serious mental disorders or physical diseases. Negative effects of chronic stresses are mostly associated with inability of human body to adapt to permanent disturbing conditions. Chronic stresses can cause numerous physical disorders and illnesses. First of all, those are gastrointestinal (diarrhea, stomach ulcer, etc) and cardiovascular disorders (arrhythmia, raising blood-cholesterol levels, etc). Stresses can also cause serious disorders of immune system, and even create favorable environment for developing cancer (as recent tests on animals have demonstrated).

Stressed Out GirlInsomnia and depression are among the most regular psychological effects of stresses. Long lasting chronic stresses can cause permanent anxiety, settled melancholy and depression, which can bring to real clinical mental disorders, like mood and personality disorders, dissociation, different phobias, etc. Besides, stresses can also bring to such outcomes, as continuous heart aches, severe headaches and other disturbances. Along with a tendency to suicide, such scenarios are the worst results of permanent stress conditions.

It is known that stresses affect human immune system as well. Psychological changes, caused by stress, usually result in weakening and compromising our immune system. In such cases, a human body becomes more opened to any infections or diseases, especially if a person has had problematic immunity before, is currently sick or weakened by old age. The most common disorders, which can be caused by negative reaction of immune system under effect of stresses, are psoriasis, eczema, herpes, ulcerative colitis and others.

Short-term stressors can trigger human immune system to get ready for a disease or infection. However, acute and chronic stressors are the most dangerous for the immunity. They suppress the immune system and shift its activity from usual. This can bring to hard negative consequences. In the beginning, such changes happen on cellular level, and later on they develop in broader functions of immune system. As a result, body loses the ability to adapt to stressful situations.