Stress and anxiety are conditions that numerous people suffer with in today’s society. Modern society can comprise of a fast pace, long working hours and high pressured jobs. Over time a fast pace of life combined with sometimes self conflicted pressures can result in conditions such as stress, anxiety, habits and even phobias. At some point in a person’s live they will more than likely suffer stress in one form or another but as individuals some people have the ability to deal with stress better than others.
Stress is a natural response reaction to fear or change, when faced with a stressful or dangerous situation the body produces hormones which induces our natural “fight or flight” instinct but not all stress is a negative reaction and on certain occasions people harness the reaction of stress to particular situations in order to promote and support achievements and performance such as athletes or before an important event etc.
Stress can occur in 3 stages:
1. Alarm –Presented at a stressful situation
2. Resistance –Attempt to cope with the event and try to reduce the effects of stress
3. Exhaustion – Incapable of resistance after repeated exposure
Stress can occur when a person feels a discrepancy between their environment and their ability to cope with that environment. Sometimes we can cope with the discrepancy and the feelings it causes and other times we cannot, this then causes negative stress disorders.
There are 6 different categories of stress, a brief outline of them are as follows:
Hypostress - lack of motivation, bored and unchallenged
Eustress - this is a positive short term stress which can increase performance and motivation
Acute Stress – Felt through tension and physical disturbance and can physically affect the body.
Episodic Acute Stress – This is a more damaging type of stress and is a symptom associated with hypertension, stroke and heart attack.
Chronic Stress – This is a serious level of stress which is damaging to health and has been associated with cancer and diabetes
Traumatic Stress – This is a result from a traumatic event ex. child abuse
Stress may also present itself in people as depression or acute anxiety, as well as difficulty with concentration, motivation, sleep disturbances and sexual dysfunction.
There are 3 common reaction disorders to stress
Acute Reaction – This can occur as a reaction to a stressful event and symptoms can develop quickly over minutes or hours. Symptoms can comprise of low mood, irritability, emotional ups and downs, poor sleep and concentration, these usually settle fairly quickly, though can last for several days or weeks.
Adjustment Reaction – This is when symptoms develop days or weeks after a stressful situation as a reaction or adjustment to the problem. Symptoms are similar to acute reactions but can include depression, it usually improves over a few weeks.
Post Traumatic Stress - This can occur following a severe trauma such as a serious assault or life threatening accident. Symptoms last a month or longer. Symptoms include anxiety, recurring memories and images, avoidance of feelings, places, activities or anything that may trigger a memory of the trauma.
Like stress anxiety is also a natural reaction which comes from apprehension or fear of the unknown which in turn causes stress. Anxiety can also have a negative impact on people and anxiety disorders can develop; in its severity anxiety can cause panic attacks and phobic reactions. Anxiety is experienced when we are presented with a stressful situation. The physical symptoms to anxiety can include shaking, fast heart rate, nausea, dizziness, headache and sweating similar to the body’s natural fight or flight characteristics. These symptoms are induced when the stress hormone adrenaline is released into the blood stream. It is reported that