Stress and Coping
Stress is the combination of physiological, psychological and behavioural effects when people are responding to any challenges or threatening situations. Long term stress reduced the capacity of our body to adapt. Stress influence conception, development and result of an illness. The source of stress has to change or adapt to balance our body system (Potter & Perry, 1997). Overton (2005) illustrates a good example that when our body is stressed due to the exposure to extreme cold or heat, the physical reaction to restore balance is to bring the temperature down by perspiring and bringing the temperature up by shivering, called homeostasis.
Anything that induces stress either psychological or physical is called stressor (Pinel, 2003). Some form of stress can be good and sometimes provide people with added alertness or energy to motivate people to learn new skills, gain new strengths, develop good point of view and it can cause them to assess priorities, it is called eustress. In general, the adverse situation may promote growth and improvement to someone resilient who had been subjected to stress. On the other hand, stress often resulted in a more unpleasant emotional state known as distress, which can even be harmful when not deal with effectively (Weiten, 2011). This is the unpleasant stress inducing event that happened to me lately, the bereavement of my mother and the last exams that I have to deal with.
The malfunction of HPA axis management can result to pathological diseases (Guillians & Edwards, 2010). The hypothalamus particularly Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) Axis and the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) is a part of the brain that spring into action in times of potential danger or an alteration in homeostasis due to stressor which triggers hormones to respond. It operates as a relay or signal control centre that alerts all autonomic body responses (Overton, 2005 and Guillians & Edwards, 2010).
Furthermore, there are two pathways in which the brain sends signals when stress occurs. The first pathway begins from hypothalamus (brain-body pathway) via autonomic nervous system (ANS) control consequently releasing cathecolamine hormones to initiate the body to act. The second pathway is from hypothalamus to pituitary gland, the master gland of endocrine system, consequently releasing the corticosteroids hormones under the control of endocrine system thereby increasing the energy to reduced swelling. Stressful situation triggers an assessment of the degree of threat. The situation is taken with warning and may cause behavioural, emotional and physiological response (Weiten, 2011). In addition, the stress triggered hypothalamus to secret corticotrophin-releasing hormone/factor (CRH) and arginine vasopressin (AVP) producing adrenocortcotropin hormone (ACTH) consequently cortisol is secreted and activating noradrenergic neuron of the locus caeruleas/norepinepherin (LC/NE) system for the “fight or flight” reaction (Guillians & Edwards, 2010). Every time hypothalamus sends signals, adrenal cortex stimulates the outer part and cortisol (CORT) stress hormones are released from the adrenal glands. HPA Axis is able to carry on releasing cortisol which at enormous amount is unsafe for both brain and body (Guillians & Edwards, 2010)
Vast forms of occasions can lead a stressful state from one form to another. The four major causes of stress are conflict, change, frustration and pressure (Weiten, 2011). According to Potter and Perry (1997) the effects of stress are loss of concentration, lack of motivation, low self-esteem, sleep disturbance, anxiousness, depression, changes in eating and sleep pattern. Similarly, the physiological effects of stress can be back pain, increased pulse and respiration, tiredness, headache, stomach upset, nausea/vomiting which abnormal laboratory results such as high adrenocorticotropic hormone, cortisol, and...
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