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Stress psychology: understanding better stress and its symptoms

Stress psychology : stress and its symptoms, understanding better stress and its symptoms


Stress remains one of the big pains of our century. Stress, all, we deal with it regularly, to degrees more or less elevated according to our personality. Why are we stressed? Where does stress come from? What are its symptoms? Here there are a few response elements with our study, stress and its symptoms, to understand better stress and symptoms...


Stress and its symptoms: general adaptation syndrome

Stress and its symptoms
Stress and its symptoms
Stress is present permanently. Frantic rhythm of occidental life, including professional middle, bosses, tensions, financial worries, children, familial problems, etc, does not favour in anything spirit peace.

The famous Canadian endocrinologist Hans Selye is the father of stress theory which he calls "general adaptation syndrome". According to this theory, when something threatens our physical and mental balance, we cross a series of changes.

Alert phase constitutes the first reaction we have faced to any stress factor. It manifests in the following manner: heart beatings accelerate, breathing is short and fast and there are modifications concerning blood repartition in organism.

The second change that we live is resistance phase. Body becomes then totally available to face and escape threat- that this last is real or not. Like that, if you are alone in the wood and you feel followed and in danger, you legs will transform in a true machine and will deliver a performance without precedent!

Once terminated the resistance phase, adaptation syndrome disappears and this, even if the stress factor is still present. Then exhaustion phase occurs. Why exhaustion term? Simply because resistance phase constitutes an effort particularly intense for body and spirit. It empties literally organism from its energy. Not being able to resist stress, body becomes then vulnerable and inclined to develop illnesses.

Stress and its symptoms: different types of stress

Stress at working
Stress at working
Stress does not stem so much from the situation we live, but rather in our manner to apprehend it. Like that, a same situation will be able to generate an enormous stress in an individual, whereas another will not see any reason to worry about.

Nevertheless, it exists situations which cause a stress in each of us. In fact, factor of current stress, as daily worries to which nobody escapes, employment loss or even pressure at working affect more or less everybody. Then come psychosocial stress factors, in particular wedding, childbirth or divorce which, even in the most serene from people, will introduce an inevitable stress. At last, factors of extreme stress, as wars or natural catastrophes, does not spare anybody no more.

An evaluation scale of stress, created by two psychologists, indicates us major stress factors in a person life. They attributed a certain number of marks to each situation; more marks number is elevated, more the context remains stressing.

Here there are the ten events which provoke the most stress, followed by their marks number : spouse death (100), a divorce (73); a separation (65), a prison sentence (63), close parent death (63), body damages or an illness (53), getting married (50), dismissing (47), reconciliation with one spouse (45), retirement (45).

Surprising and very interesting fact: Christmas holidays belong to this classification with 13 and 12 marks! But then, when are we really relaxed?

Stress symptoms

Stress symptoms
Stress symptoms
Stress manifests in numerous manners, more and less grave. The lack of joy, enthusiasm and concentration constitutes one of the precursor sign. Intolerance towards others, irritability and angry crisis remain frequent behaviours too. Besides, stressed people sometimes have difficulties to stay alone and to keep still, they have difficulties to provide a quality work too, whatever at school or in their professional life.

It also may be that health problems occur more often and recovery results slower than usual. Drug or alcohol consumption- for the first time or more frequently- remains, of course, another alert signal. Chronic nightmares, -repeated troubling dreams, obsessional thinking- above all negative- perturb generally stressed people. At last, social life withdrawal can, it too, constitutes a stress symptom.

In the long term, graver symptoms can occur. It is in particularly the case of changes, at appetite level: the person suffers then from a considerable loss or gain of weight. Breath lack, dizziness and frequent poundings can equally belong to everyday life of stressed individuals. Modifications at sleep habits level (waking various times during night or very early in the morning) as well as powerlessness feeling face to life are other consequences of stress in the long term.

Whatever chronic or acute, stress alters our quality life and perturbs an important number of mental and physical processes. See in a next article how to face stress and avoid it to invade our everyday life.

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Written by Florence GUILLAUME, December 29th 2010.
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Themes approached and treated in this publication : nerves, problems, pyschology, stress, symptoms