The consequences of stress on the body
The biological reaction
Stress works much like a reflex after which the nervous system reacts by secreting naturally doping hormones. To cope with stressful situations, additional energy is needed.
The consequences of stress on the body
As a result of a stressful situation where it is a question of fighting or leaking, the organism reacts biologically in 2 stages.
The response is controlled by the SNA (Autonomous Nervous System) which triggers the production of hormones to provide a short-term response, independent of any voluntary control.
1st time: the shock
– the level of sugar in the blood collapses;
– muscle tone also collapses;
– the mind becomes confused;
– physical manifestations appear.
2nd time: reaction
When he perceives a threat, the organism instantly activates hypthalamus, a structure of the limbic brain that ensures homeostasis, that is, the maintenance of biological constants (blood pressure, heart rate and respiratory). On the one hand, the stress reaction mobilizes the sympathetic branch and thus the adrenal medulla which immediately releases catecholamines (adrenaline) or “stress hormones”. We speak of ‘axis of stress’ which is triggered by two kinds of stimuli directly alert the hypotalamus:
– cognitive stimuli, such as physical stimuli (pain, cold, noise), and emotions perceived by the sense organs and the nervous system;
– noncognitive stimuli such as viruses and bacteria recognized by the immune system.
Thanks to this adrenaline, the body is able to multiply your mental and physical strengths. Nevertheless, it is a costly operating regime in which the mobilizable energy reserves are rapidly lacking. The prolongation of the reaction involves the support of the corticotropic axis (hypotalamus-pituitary-corticosurrenal) which increases the secretion of cortisol.
Under these conditions, and if the threat has disappeared, the situation is controlled, everything returns in order under the soothing effect of cortisol.
If it is no longer a predator but a stress that persists, which comes back regularly to the load, the activation of the organism tends to persist. It secretes hormones such as cortisol, dopamine, serotonin, endorphin. However, the effects of the first, beneficial in acute stress situations, are detrimental when stress becomes chronic. Indeed, cortisol is responsible for an increase in protein degradation; To produce energy substrates, the body that has exhausted its reserves of sugars and lipids attacks its own structures. This production of energy components results in:
– an increase in glucose, triglycerides and blood cholesterol, causing cardiovascular disease;
– an effect on immune capacity.
To compensate for the negative effects of an excessive and prolonged cortisol secretion, the organism has a regulation mechanism: the hippocampus, the structure of the temporal lobe of the brain. While under the effect of acute stress, the hippocampus brakes the hypothalamus, the secretion of CRH (Corticotropin Releasing Hormone *) then decreases, which reduces that of cortisol, toxic to it. In a situation of chronic stress, it loses its ability to curb the hypotalamus. The activation of the corticotropic axis tends to perpetuate. The cortisol remains high, it then shows its anxiogenic and depressant power and leads to a degradation of memory and learning abilities. You reach what the specialists call “the exhaustion phase”; The reactions of your SNA ** are no longer adapted to the solicitations of the environment.
* CRH (Corticotropin Releasing Hormone)
CRH or corticoliberin is a hormone produced by the hypothalamus and acting in the pituitary gland. HRC will stimulate the release of ACTH through the pituitary gland, which in turn will stimulate the production of glucocorticoids (cortisol) at the adrenal gland.
** SNA (Autonomous Nervous System)
The consequences of stress
– Physics in the face of acute stress
During a period of intense stress, physical symptoms may appear: paleness, tremors, abundant sweat, discomfort, throat in the throat, tightness in the chest, knot in the stomach, digestive spasms, cold extremities.
After stress, it is common to be exhausted both physically and psychically. The gestures are slow and heavy, the voice is altered, a feeling of euphoric relief appears at the same time as a loss of evaluation and memorization skills. This is why we must always avoid, after having overcome a gravedanger, to relax completely: it is the phenomenon of suraccident.
Body and mind intimately linked
As a result of a traumatic event or a repeat of failures, stress sets in and threatens the body’s balance. Most often, the effects of prolonged stress begin to be felt on the psyche, and physical manifestations appear: heart palpitations, pain and tensions (in the jaws, neck or back), asthenia (state of general fatigue), Difficulty falling asleep, nocturnal awakenings, dizziness, dyspnea (difficulty breathing), nausea, bloating.
– The harmful effects of stress on the physical
The hormonal storm triggered by stress is not harmful to the body if the situation becomes regular, either because the stressors have disappeared or because the person concerned is faced with it. On the other hand, if the tension persists, stress hormones are likely to alter the physical health of the individual. The nervous system, by dint of being solicited, reacts excessively and exhausts the natural reserves of the body.
The psychological impact
– The resources of the mind
Biological mechanisms alone are not enough to cope with a stressful event. Indeed, the organism supplies substances to move quickly to action or to hold the shock. Mental resources must then be mobilized. The mind governs motivation, combativity, self-control and self-confidence.
In acute stress, we instantly raise our level of vigilance and focus our attention on the danger. All the senses are on alert. Psychic phenomena may appear:
– a sensation of unreality of what has just happened;
– a painful psychic tension with a lucid awareness of the situation experienced.
Conversely, in chronic stress, the following psychological disorders can disturb you: rumination of daily worries, difficulty concentrating, memory impairment, empty head feeling, anxiety, hyperemotivity, restlessness, feverishness, inhibition, inability to react to events , Feelings of blocking of any initiative.
– The harmful effects of stress on the psyche
After a stress, it is said that the emotion drops. There is then loss of any emotional control (possible tears, drives …). It is then impossible to mobilize for action. If the stress persists and no one is in support a loss of self-confidence can provide.