Stress - Effects And Consequences

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Stress - Effects And Consequences
Stress - Effects And Consequences

Video: Stress - Effects And Consequences

Video: Stress - Effects And Consequences
Video: How stress affects your brain - Madhumita Murgia 2023, September

Stress: Effects on body and mind

Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations. So one gets a headache, the other feels inner restlessness. Stress manifests itself through various physical and psychological symptoms - for example nocturnal teeth grinding, back pain, fear, irritability, etc. Psychosomatic illnesses can also be partly caused by stress…


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  • ">Stress shows a variety of symptoms


  • ">">Hormones play a role


  • Programmed to fight or flee


Stress shows a variety of symptoms

In general, symptoms that can be associated with stress can be divided into the following categories:

  • physical (e.g. tension, tremors),
  • mentally (e.g. poor concentration, prolonged reaction times),
  • psychological (e.g. resignation, feelings of panic, joylessness),
  • Behavior (e.g. changes in eating habits, exaggerated reactions or increased consumption of alcohol / coffee / nicotine).

Hormones play a role

During an acute stress reaction, the autonomic nervous system (not subject to volitional control) directs - namely the sympathetic nervous system. This part of the nervous system is responsible for activation, flight and combat, among other things. The parasympathetic nervous system is the antagonist of the sympathetic nervous system and regulates processes that take place when the body is at rest, such as food intake or growth.

At the beginning of the acute stress reaction, adrenaline and noradrenaline are released. These are hormones from the adrenal medulla. They cause, among other things, an expansion of the bronchi, an increase in blood pressure and blood sugar.

In stress reactions, the hormone cortisol is also released from the adrenal cortex. Its effects last for several hours. This hormone also causes blood pressure and blood sugar to rise. Cortisol also affects brain metabolism. It keeps the body on alert. DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone), on the other hand, dampens the effect of cortisol. It is, so to speak, his opponent and prevents the stress system from getting out of hand.

Programmed to fight or flee

All of these stress responses make biological sense. If we reacted calmly to everything, we would not be able to cope with danger. The stress and anti-stress system, however, stems from times when fight or flight often determined life. However, today's life is characterized by completely different stressors (e.g. double burden of family and work, pressure to perform, etc.), which, however, have an effect over a longer period of time. In most cases, humans cannot react directly to these stress stimuli with movement ("flight"), which would help to reduce the stress.

If no suitable countermeasures such as relaxation, change of situation, conflict resolution etc. are taken in the event of constant stress, the body continuously releases cortisol. This stress can make you sick. Examples that can lead to the constant release of cortisol are insoluble conflicts, excessive demands at work or at school, family problems etc. In this phase, people can withdraw and depression, burnout or other illnesses develop. The immune system is also weakened by constant stress.

For information on stress and its connection with psychosomatics, see Development of psychosomatic illnesses.