The Concept of Stress, Its Types and Symptoms

Question:

Describe in some detail the concept of stress, its types, symptoms (physical, psychological, and behavioral), as well as some characteristics of stressors. What are some potential short-term and long-term impacts of unmanaged stress upon the brain, body, and behavior? What is meant by “resiliency” and “coping”?

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Response:

To reference chapter 6, stress seems to be caused by an incongruity between what was expected, perceived, or otherwise predicted and the actuality of what happens or is foreseen to happen (Deckers, 2005). As with arousal, stress can be adaptive if coping and moderating mechanisms are put into play to compensate for the maladaptive effects of stress. In my own personal life stress usually manifests itself as a continuous, throbbing pain on the right side of my jaw. I am not sure if it is because I clench my jaw at night or what. But when I get stressed my jaw hurts all of the time. Predictability seems to be the central thing on which stress rests unless the stress of a situation overshadows its predictability. For instance, would it cause less stress to know that the plane you are on was about to crash? Hardly. But knowing that there are delays at the airport because of a heightened terror alert can moderate the effects of the stress of being held up at the airport. Stress that is not properly moderated can lower immune system response or even cause heart attacks when added to other risk factors. This last admonition reminds me of the medication that my friend is taking for her blood pressure. On the disclaimer form, it says that the medication can cause heart attacks. Can you believe that? She is taking the medication because she had a heart attack. Another example, my uncle went to go give blood at a blood drive. He had to fill out a form saying that if he got HIV from the needle he would not sue the company. This all plays well with stress as an effect of unpredictability. Sometimes the predictability of stressful situations can help us to avoid them altogether. If the medication causes heart attacks, then don’t take it. If you have to fill out a form relinquishing the company from all responsibility, don’t use that company. If stress causes heart attacks, then we had better figure out a way of moderating stress.   

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References

Deckers, L. (2005). Motivation: Biological, psychological, and environmental, Second Edition. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon. 

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