The concept of stress is borrowed from the physics, where it refers to the ability of different bodies and structures to withstand the load. Any structure has a tensile strength, exceeding of which leads to its destruction. Transferred to the field of social psychology, concept of stress includes a range of conditions of the person caused by a variety of events: from defeats or victories to creative experiences and doubts. Some experts believe that stress leads to a state of emotional discomfort. Others believe that emotional discomfort is the stress caused by pressure or conditions referred to as stressors. However, stress is not simply a nervous strain. I sure that is true because I write more article on buy-online-essay.com
Mechanism of Stress
Stress is caused by a strong influence of the state of high nervous strain, overexertion. Inherently, stressful reaction is a way to achieve stability of the organism in response to a negative factor. Modern life situations lead to a sharp increase in psychological stress in humans. An important prerequisite for the establishment of the doctrine of stress was the necessity to solve the problem of protection from the effects of adverse factors. Initial understanding of the stress applied to the non-specific response of the body to the action of any factor. Further study was devoted to the psychological manifestations of stress mechanisms as well as their role in the development of diseases resulting from emotional tension. In connection to the large number of studies on this topic in science, a new concept came – emotional or psychological stress.
Stress plays an important role in causing not only violations of human mental activity but internal diseases. It is known that stress can cause almost any disease. One can distinguish between acute and chronic stress. In the first case, the defense mechanisms are activated for a short time – at the time of the stressor action; in the second case, the stressor acts continuously. In addition, stress is divided into physical and emotional one: in the first case, there is protection from exposure to physical factors (burns, trauma, strong noise), in the second case – protection from psychogenic factors causing negative emotions.
Too prolonged stressful situation is potentially dangerous to humans since it makes difficult or impossible to adapt to the requirements of the situation. List of stressors varied from simple such as temperature, noise, atmospheric composition, toxic substances, etc. to complex psychological and social factors: risk, danger, lack of time, the novelty and surprise situations, and increased importance of activity. One of the most lasting stressors is an intrapersonal conflict. There are the following identified phases of the stress:
1) Alarm reaction. Organism changes its characteristics when subjected to stress. However, it is not enough resistance, and if the stressor is strong (severe burns is extremely high and extremely low temperatures), it can cause death.
2) Resistance phase. If the action of the stressor is compatible with adaptation possibilities, the body will resist it. Signs of anxiety reaction practically disappear; resistance rises much higher than normal. The first two stages of stress are considered to be useful stress since they mobilize the stress response and all the sources in the organism in order to cope with it (Sapolsky 394). It is so-called eustress.
3) Exhaustion phase. After a long-acting stressor to which body has adapted, the adopted energy resources gradually deplete. Again, signs of anxiety reaction are shown but now they are irreversible. When one feels that things are slipping out of control, stressors accumulate for a long period, and an individual is no longer able to cope with the situation. This condition is called distress.
Physical and Psychological Effects of Stress
In the acute phase of the initial alarm reaction, in response to a stressor adrenal medulla produces adrenaline. Adrenaline reactions are involved in the implementation of the “fight or flight” reaction; it dramatically increases the secretion under stressful conditions. It causes vasoconstriction of the abdominal organs, skin, and mucous membranes, and to a lesser extent, skeletal muscle constricts blood vessels. Blood pressure rises under the influence of adrenaline. Adrenaline greatly strengthens and rapids the heart rate. Adrenaline causes relaxation of bronchial smooth muscle, bowel, and dilated pupils. Under the influence of adrenaline, blood glucose level rises and tissue metabolism increases.
To maintain homeostasis, i.e. the stability of the organism in a state of stress, the “axis” hypothalamic – pituitary – adrenal cortex is highly important. It is involved into the development of the range of painful phenomena. This “axis” represents a coordinated system consisting of the hypothalamus (part of the brain in the skull base), which is associated with the pituitary gland that regulates the activity of the adrenal cortex. Stressor excites the hypothalamus, which produces a substance that gives a signal to the pituitary gland to discharge adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) to blood. Under the influence of the ACTH, external adrenal cortical part allocates corticoids. This leads to shrinkage of the thymus gland and many other concomitant changes such as atrophy of lymph nodes, inhibition of inflammatory reactions, and the production of sugar (easily accessible source of energy). Another typical feature of the stress response is the formation of ulcers of the digestive tract (stomach and intestines). They appear due to the high content of corticoids in the blood, however, the autonomic nervous system also plays a huge role in their appearance.
In conclusion, it must be said that everyone experiences stress and everyone talks about it, but few really know about what it represents. Stress is a part of daily life, and although its cause factors are different, they trigger the same biological response. Stress can be both useful and destructive: adds useful energy is manifested in the form of devastating pain, hypertension, ulcers, or mental disorders. In the modern world, stress is not a supernatural phenomenon but rather a reaction to the accumulated worries and problems, the endless process of struggle with everyday difficulties.
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