Harmful Effects of Stress

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Abstract

This article presents three theories, which all support the idea, that stress affects the biological and or psychological aspects of a person’s health.

Selye's theory of systemic stress, is based on physiology and psychobiology and in later years he furthered his philosophic approach to his theory by stating that the use of altruistic egoism and earning thy neighbor’s love was helpful to well being.

Lazarus theory details psychological stress which is an approach based on an evaluation of the event which affects coping skills. Lazarus sometimes used the word hassle to describe stressors.

Environmental stress is critical to the theory that links depression to the environment in which someone lives. The effect of living in an environment which is adverse is presented as a stressor which impacts on the health of its inhabitants.

The purpose of this essay is to provide a critical evaluation of which stress theory dominates along with strategies which are most useful in sustaining optimal health. It was concluded on the basis of evidence provided, that Selye’s theory of stress dominated; therefore his strategies were also more useful in preventing ill health.

Stress and its affects on the human body have excited and motivated research scientists to develop concepts into theories. These theories when developed, examine the physiological and psychological consequences of stress on the human body, and implications of short term and long-term consequences to health. This essay will feature three theories of stress by exploring stress markers which arise through systemic stress (Selye, 1936), evaluation of the event (Lazarus, 1978), and environmental factors (Cutrona, Wallace and Wesner, 2006). The evidence from medical researchers is that stressors such as adverse events, chronic strains, and traumas have a significant impact on physical and mental health (Peggy, 2010).

The limitation of this essay is the reliance on the research of the scientist’s observations and the challenges they often face from each other when a theory is presented. Selye (1978) observed that when he coined the term ‘stresses in scientific terms, objections were raised that it would lead to confusion. However, the research scientists, whose stress theories were chosen for this report, are considered significant or expert in their field. Their theories have stood the test of time and are still printed and acclaimed by reputable publications in the field of psychology. The purpose of this essay is to provide a critical evaluation of which stress theory dominates along with strategies which are most useful in sustaining excellent health.

Selye’s Theory: Systemic Stress
Hans Selye (1936), developed the General Adaptation Syndrome by inflicting physiological abuse in various experimentation's on rats. He found typical syndromes were induced in three stages. The first stage was classed as a general alarm reaction which was when the organism was required to endure a critical situation. The second stage began 48 hours after the injury or shock and moved the body into a resistant stage which then adapted to the presence of long term stress. Once the third stage arrived, the body’s ability to resist was forgone and, therefore exhausted, succumbed to disease through long term chemical changes.

Selye’s theory of stress opened up avenues of thought that overall wellness of the body is controlled through maintaining homeostasis. That is; an organism regulates its internal conditions despite change, therefore disease is also about the body's effort to maintain the homeostatic balance along with the suffering. Selye described homeostasis as the staying power of the body (Selye, 1978, p.13).

In accordance with H. W. Krohne (2002), Selye's...
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