Stress — Стресс

Stress is difficult for many individuals to cope with, especially those who are severely depressed or among other disorders. Unfortunately, stress disrupts our natural physical or psychological well-being or survival. According to Gordon Edlin and Eric Golanty, stress is defined as, «the sum of physical and emotional reactions to any stimulus that disturbs the harmony of body and mind». Gradually, general terms such as anxiety, distress, despair, frustration, and fear, develop into the broad definition of stress. Fortunately, the definition of stress is divided into two sub-groups, acute stress and chronic stress, which help treat individuals of specific cases.

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Acute stress is the most common type of stress among the population today. Acute stress most commonly develops from the anticipated demands and pressures from day to day activities and near future deadlines. Fortunately, people can easily identify their symptoms of acute stress because they are usually a list of things that are physically and mentally exhausting. Some examples are automobile accidents, loss of a document, studying for exams, important deadlines, children’s activities, etc. Acute stress is usually a short term; therefore, it does not have the time to result in extensive damage. Acute stress is bound to show up in anyone’s life but it is easily manageable and treatable.

On the other hand, chronic stress has a long term effect and usually results when a person can not ever escape a miserable situation. Chronic stress involves unrelenting demands and pressures for a long period of time, eventually, the person experiencing such hardships will give up searching for solutions. Some chronic stress results from exposure to trauma that causes intense fear and, usually, threats to one’s life and/or others. The most common examples of chronic stress are rape, mugging, combat, natural disaster, etc. Many civilians who suffer from chronic stress experience mild symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Unfortunately, chronic stress is damaging to our minds, bodies, and lives. Chronic stress can become so severe that it can drive someone to suicide, violence, heart attack and stroke. This amount of stress causes the physical and mental states of person to deplete over time and thus involves extended medical and behavioral treatment.

When a person experiences stress they can react to it differently. Acute stress or chronic stress both require attention and treatment in order for persons to retain or maintain their well-being. There are two response methods that people commonly interact with in order to over the stress entailed in situations. Most doctors refer to the body’s reaction to stress as the general adaptation syndrome (GAS). There are normally three stages to the general adaptation syndrome. The initial stage to general adaptation is called an alarmed reaction. This is the body’s immediate reaction to a stressor. An alarmed reaction is an ability a person has to withstand or resist any type of stressor and often prepare the person for physical activity or decrease in the immune system making an individual more susceptible to illness. The second stage deals with the body’s ability to resist a stressor, also known as, the stage of resistance. In this stage, the body will adapt to the stressor(s) exposed. However, if the body interacts with a stressor for prolonged periods of time the ability to resist it will deplete over time. The final stage in the general adaptation syndrome is the stage of exhaustion. In this final stage, the body has lost its ability to resist a stressor and the person becomes ill. Generally, the general adaptation syndrome is categorized with chronic stress because it is the body’s ability to adapt to stress over months or even years of vital depletion.

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The second response method to stress is called the fight or flight response. This response is recognized as the first stage of the general adaptation syndrome. The purpose of the fight or flight response is the preparation for an individual to deal with a stressor. The individual that undergoes the stressful event can either confront the stressor (fight) or they can run away and avoid it (flight). This response theory involves the interaction with the autonomic nervous system and adrenaline release. This reaction elevates heart rate, and blood pressure dilates the pupils and increases internal activity. All in all, the fight or flight response is a general discharge of the sympathetic nervous system preparing the individual for a fight or flee of certain situations.

Too many people different situations result in different stressors or stressful events. As any reaction or situation is for people some may find events, days, deadlines, or activities more stressful than others. Stressors are usually situations that have the potential to disrupt life’s daily activities. Stressors range from major external events such as war, famine, and natural disasters to the daily hassles that cause frustration and irritation. However, stressful situations can be classified into three different categories: harm-and-loss situations, threatening situations, and challenge situations. Harm and loss situations involve the death of a loved one, theft or damage to one’s property, physical injury or loss of an organ, physical assault, or loss of self-esteem. On the other hand, threat situations are usually perceived by one as likely to produce harm or loss. Unfortunately, harm or loss may not actually occur but for many, it becomes a stressor because of the unimaginable happening or the fear of the future. Lastly, challenge situations involve those that are opportunities for growth, mastery, and gain. These situations usually include transitions such as leaving a family and starting a life on one’s own, moving from home to college or getting married. Although transitional situations can be thrilling they are often stressful because it involves a great amount of psychological adjustment.

Gradually stress has become very important in medicine and scientific research because many people are suffering from life’s anxieties, challenges, and deadlines. It has become common for many families to adjust to the stressful lifestyle because life has gotten more demanding and puzzling as the years continue to go by. Unfortunately, many individuals have developed depression, disorders, deadly disease, and illnesses due to the lack of attention researchers and doctors have paid to stress and stressors. The reason for most deaths is usually named by the disease or illness that has killed them rather than the simple explanation of stress.

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