EFFECTS OF STRESS

EFFECTS OF STRESS 11

EFFECTSOF STRESS

June10, 2014.

AbstractThehuman life is characterized by stressful situations and events.Stress refers to physiological and mental response to situations thatthreatens or upsets our perception. When individuals perceive real orimagined stress the response mechanisms in the human brain triggersseries of ‘flight or fight responses’ by releasing stresshormones which arouse the body for emergency response. In the eventof stress the brain releases adrenaline and Cortisol hormones whichare responsible for various physiological and chemical reactions inthe human body. Stressful situations have negative effects on thecognitive, emotional, physical and behavioral aspects of anindividual. Stress can be remedied through personal managementtaking charge of life situations leading to stress. In addition,stress management involves, taking enough rest, good diet, socialconnection, avoiding stressing conditions when possible, learn toaccept and adapt to situations that cannot be avoid. Prolonged casesof stress lead to adverse effects on the victims’ physical andmental health. In some cases it leads to harmful behavioral effectssuch as drug abuse, violence and even suicide.A stressful event currentlyoccurring in my life

Themodern life is full of frustrations, deadlines, demands and hassleswhich leave one physically and mentally weak. Stress is a downgradingaspect that leaves one overwhelmed with physical and psychologicalweariness especially in a work related environment. My currentoccupation requires one to be at work before office hours in order toprepare work operation activities for the day especially for thejunior staffs. During office hours, there are internal meetings toattend, clarify issues to staffs in the departments, check workprogress in each office, supervise staffs activities, meet withclients and answer their queries which sometimes takes long hours.

Inaddition, to these activities, there are other tasks that I amrequired to attend like external meetings, field work and travelling.These activities leave little room for rest and recreation since mostactivities requires my supervision, directive and approval. In theevening, I am required to assess the day activities and recordimportant issues that happened in different departments. This helpsme to plan for the following day activities. It is important that Imange all these activities in order to meet strict deadline from theclients and achieve the objectives set for the department. Often, Ifeel irritated by staffs who fail to accomplish their tasks asassigned by absconding duties. All these issues leave me tiredphysically and mentally with severe backache and migraines on certaindays. As a result I have resulted to taking headache pain relievers,a situation that could expose me to drug abuse. I sometimes relax inthe evenings but it is not possible since I have family issues tosolve. Overall, I feel disillusioned, stressed and frustrated withlife it is one endless hassle.

Physiologicalchanges that occur in the brain due to stress response

Stressis an internal reaction to pressures that affects individual’sability to cope, adapt to situations. It has been found that, stressaffects the physiological and mental aspects of an individual.Psychics and mental health practitioners have argued that the humanbody is wired to respond to stressors in various ways. The bodyreaction to stressors is an automatic and natural response instinctto perceived threat or upsetting conditions(Smith et al. 2014).

Therefore,when an individual’s body perceives or is exposed to external orinternal pressures, it responds by activating series of physiologicalreactions meant to counter the stressing conditions.Thereare various levels of stress and the body response to such stressvaries in relation to the type of stress encountered (Krantzet al. 2011).In most cases individuals’ experience acute stress which isassociated with low levels of thrilling and exhausting stress. Itdoes not cause immediate damage and is treatable. It is commonlyassociated with muscular problems, emotional stress, stomach, andbowel and gut problems. In some cases, there are rapid heartbeats,dizziness, migraines and chest pains (Susic,2013).

Constantcases of acute stress predispose an individual to episodic stresswhich is characterized by disorderliness and rushing. Individualstend to be irritable, in a hurry, anxious and short tempered whichare as a result of extended cases arousal, persistent tensions, chestpains and migraines. Chronic stress is a grinding stress which causesgreat weariness in an individual’s body and could lead to criticaldestruction of the minds and lives of individuals (Smithet al. 2014).This stress results from critical issues happening in an individual’slife like extreme poverty, traumatic conditions and dysfunctionalfamilies. Often, chronic stress predisposes individuals to suicidecases, heart attack, violence and depletion of physical and mentalcapacity(Schultz&amp Schultz, 2010).

Thebody response to stress and stressors leads to many physiological andhormonal changes in the victim’s body. When an individual’s bodyperceives stressful situations it produces series of physiologicaland chemical responses in the human body (Davidet al. 2013).As a result of stress the body reacts by activating flight or fightresponse in the brain. Flight to response is an automatic responsewhich prepares an individual’s for the emergency and survival inrelation to the stressors(Schultz&amp Schultz, 2010).The response initiates great changes in the human body through theactivation of automatic nervous system (ANS). The automatic nervoussystem in turn leads to rapid response through sympathetic nervousresponse (SNS) and the parasympathetic nervous response (PNS). Thesechanges in the nervous system leads to respiratory, cardiovascular,renal, endocrine and gastrointestinal changes in the victim’s body(Krantz et al. 2011).

Anotherphysiological change that occurs in the human brain due to stress isincreased adrenaline production. As the body prepares for flightresponse in regard to the stressor, the there is increased output ofadrenaline from the human brain. Adrenaline instigates otherphysiological changes in the human body by ‘alarming’ them forreadiness to fight or escape from the stressors. When the human brainsenses stressors, the brain responds by releasing adrenaline signalsto the lungs leading to low supply of oxygen, and hence increasedbreathing. In the heart, the adrenaline signals binds the cellsresponsible for heartbeats which in turn leads to increased heartrace to increase flow of the blood in the body. In addition, theadrenaline causes body muscles to cramp thereby leading to sweatingand the skin hairs stands out(Lehrer et al. 2007).

IncreasedCortisol production is another physiological brain response tostressful conditions. Cortisol prepares the victim’s body to dealwith the stressing condition, and after, return to the body to astate of equilibrium (Smithet al. 2014).The production of cortisol leads to increased sugar production in thebody that is needed to deal with the stressing condition as well asregulating the production of sugar back to normal levels. Inaddition, cortisol regulates potassium, sodium levels during andafter stressful situations (Susic,2013).

Insome instances of acute stress, cortisol temporary disables theimmune system. However, high levels of cortisol production have beenfound to cause short term memories. Overall, the physiologicalresponse of the human brain to stressors lead to other harmfuleffects on the victim’s body over time such effects are bloodpleasure, metabolism disorders, diabetics, physical aches, loss ofmemory and susceptibility to drug abuse.

Emotionaland cognitive effects that occur due to stressful situations

Stressfulsituations affect the human mind, body and the general behavior ofhuman beings in various ways. Ideally, stressful situations lead tosevere degradation of the human mental and physical body. Stress isnot always detrimental as some levels of stress helps individuals beproactive and meet daily life challenges. However, certain levels ofuncontrolled stress are harmful and individuals should know how toestablish mechanisms of managing them before adverse effects sets in.Stressful situations have serious effects on the emotional andcognitive aspects of a human being. Cognitive effects of stress arememory problems, poor judgment, inability to concentrate, badperception, unproductive anxiety and constant worrying (Krantzet al. 2011).Emotionally, stressful situation s have been found to lead tomoodiness, irritability or ill tempered, agitation, feelingoverwhelmed, inability to relax, feeling of loneliness, depressionand general unhappiness (Lehreret al. 2007).

Changesin physiological, cognitive and emotional variation on gender and age

Thephysiological response to stress is similar in most individuals,however, researchers argues that there exists variation in the waystress is experienced and managed by the members of opposite sex andage. The sort of stress encountered by individuals, however, theyperceive it and react depends on their gender, age, socialresponsibility and employment status (Smith et al. 2014). They arguethat, women are prone to more stressor than men due to socialresponsibilities handled child care, housework and work relatedissues which predispose them to vast opportunities for stress(Schultz&amp Schultz, 2010).

However,financial stress causes much of men stress than women due to theirresponsibility in the family. In other cases, it has been found that,women and men cope differently with stressful conditions. Womenresult to ‘tending’ and ‘be-friending’ rather than freeing astressful condition. Through ‘tending’ women applies thenurturing behavior to protect themselves from harmful effects ofstress and ‘be-friend’ by maintaining or seeking new socialconnections to lower effects of stress. In addition, there existvariation in biological and hormonal differences between men andwomen which affects their responses to stress. Women experiences highlevels of anxiety due to prevalence of Oxytocin hormone which isdiminished in males (Lehreret al. 2007).

Menon the other hand, have testosterone hormone which increase theirlevel of aggression and hostility. Older people have variousresponsibilities and high chances of exposure to stressors and theirreaction to stress is different compared to that of young people.Ideally, old people are more experienced and accustomed to lifeissues that lead to stress, and therefore, are able to solve theirstressful condition more efficiently compared to young people.However, older people experience more stress compared to young peopledue to aging problems occasioned by ailments, death of spouse, heartdiseases, sleep disturbances and low levels of physical exercises(Susic,2013).

Overall,there exists substantial variation, in physiological,cognitive and emotional response to stress among different members ofgender and age. This is as a result of different social expectations,responsibilities and exposures to stress old people are more exposedto stressors than young people.

Physicalhealth and prolonged cases of stress

Prolongedcases of stress lead to deterioration of physical health due to bodyreactions that result when one is undergoing stressful conditions. Instress situations, the human body reacts through increasedphysiological and chemical reactions (Krantz et al. 2011). As aresult, there is increased heart beats, breathing rate rises, musclestightens and individual’s experiences high blood pleasure (Smith etal. 2014). Prolonged stressful situations leads to physical healthproblems such as heart problem, depression, digestive problems,weight problems, sleep problems skin and autoimmune diseases. Inaddition, stress exposes individuals to behavioral effects such aslack of appetite, procrastinating duties, increased drug abuse andexhibiting nervous behaviors such as fidgeting, pacing and rush(David et al. 2013).

BehavioralApproaches for reducing effects of stressors

Getenough rest and relax

Relaxationand having adequate rest is an important remedy to cool down effectsof stress. By relaxing the body applies self nurturing response tothe body and individuals feel better, calmer and happier. This isachieved through personal discipline setting aside time forrecreation despite the tedious schedule if circumstances do notallow for free time, individuals need to consider extra help whilethey are relaxing (Susic,2013).

Emotionalconnection

Someaspects of stress require individuals to have emotional connectionwith others who can share and comfort us when undergoing stressfulconditions. Individuals need to understand and be able to controltheir thoughts and emotions. It is important for people to realizethat there are many life events which lead one to stressfulsituations. As such, individuals should be able to manage theiremotions, seek assistance, alter, adapt, avoid or accept situationsthat they may be going through (Lehreret al. 2007).

Exercisingregularly

Physicalexercises are effective mechanism of alleviating stress. Throughexercises, individuals vent off stressing energy and deviates themind from stressors. In addition, exercises increase blood flow inthe brains making it to release hormones that stimulates the nervoussystem. Exercises have been attributed with secretion of serotoninwhich reduces individual’s repulsive, irritability and aggressivebehaviors occasioned by stress. Stressful situations lead toserotonin imbalance in the brain which in turn makes individualsmoody or depressed.

Ethicalconsiderations stress management for adults

Conflictingmethod of advice delivery

Individualsadvising elderly people on behavioral approaches of addressing stressshould desist from using confrontational method as those used inoccupational alcoholism programs. A professional approach should beused to provide lifestyle counseling to them. The language usedshould be persuasive and informational based on the understanding ofclients’ conditions that lead to stress (David et al. 2013).

Confidentiality

Insome cases individuals advising elderly people have privy to privateinformation concerning their clients. It is therefore important toguarantee the clients that one will maintain trust and keep secretall information learned from the clients. In addition,confidentiality helps the counselor to identify the correctbehavioral therapy for the client by assessing their privatelifestyle issues. When advising old people, it is important to showthem genuine concern for help and desist from sharing theirinformation with other members of the public without their consent(Susic, 2013).

Voluntarism

Elderlypeople are sensitive and sometime pay less attention it is thereforenecessary to develop a legitimate consent of participation from theclient. The client should voluntarily consent for counseling throughactive participation. This is important in ensuring that theyunderstand how to address and cope with stress (Lehreret al. 2007).

References

DavidS. Krantz, PhD, Beverly Thorn, PhD, and Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, PhD,(2013). ‘How stress affects your heath’ American PsychologicalAssociation`s Practice, Accessed from:

https://www.apa.org/helpcenter/stress.aspx

Krantz,D.S., Whittaker, K.S. &amp Sheps, D.S. (2011). “Psychosocial riskfactors for coronary artery disease: Pathophysiologic mechanisms.”In Heartand Mind: Evolution of Cardiac Psychology.Washington, DC: APA

Lehrer,Paul M. David H. (FRW) Barlow, Robert L. Woolfolk, Wesley E. Sime(2007). Principlesand Practice of Stress Management, Third Edition.pp.&nbsp46–47. ISBN&nbsp1-59385-000-X.&nbspCiteuses deprecated parameters (help)

Schultz &ampSchultz, D (2010). Psychologyand work today.New York: Prentice Hall. p.&nbsp374Smith,Melinda. M.A., Robert Segal, M.A., and Jeanne Segal, Ph.D., 2014,‘Stress Symptoms, Signs, &amp Causes The Effects of StressOverload and What You Can Do About It,’ Helpguide.org. Accessedfrom http://www.helpguide.org/mental/stress_signs.htmSusic, PaulMA, (2013) &quotStressManagement: What can you do?&quotSt. Louis Psychologists and Counseling Information and Referral.Retrieved June 10, 2014