Stress is the body’s response to adverse factors. Living in big cities, the fast pace of life, working with inadequate people, and lack of rest, like the one we get while going on a trip or playing at Woo Casino, are prerequisites for psychological stress.
Everything can turn into a chronic form and later develop into depression, manifesting itself in psychosomatic illnesses. So, it’s essential to recognize the signs of stress in time and begin treatment.
General Characteristics of Stress
The term “stress” refers to a variety of phenomena:
- A strong negative impact that adversely affects the body.
- Negatively acting intensive physiological or psychological reaction of the body to a stress load.
- Non-specific features of the physiological and psychological response of the organism during an extreme impact, cause strong manifestations of adaptive activity.
The problem of stress and its consequences is important because stress-induced behavioral disorders and diseases are dramatically increasing all over the world. Currently, signs of stress are observed in 25-35% of the world’s population.
The term “stress” appeared in modern science thanks to the American psychophysiologist W. Kennon. He first offered the original concept of emotions.
During a stressful situation, our body mobilizes all its strength to overcome danger or to escape from it. And stress is the body’s reaction to what is happening.
Scientists have distinguished four consecutive phases of stress:
- Vegetative (preventive and protective vegetative activity).
- Cognitive (change of mental activity under stress situation).
- Socio-psychological (change in communication during stress).
The first two phases refer to manifestations of adaptive activation stages of relatively low “functional systemicity” of the organism. The last two depend on the individual features of the person, arising in an extreme situation.
A simpler division into stages of stress development was proposed by the Canadian scientist G. Selye:
- Anxiety reaction. It’s expressed in the mobilization of all body resources.
- The resistance stage. During this period, the body manages to cope with harmful influences. In this case, the person has an increased stress tolerance. If the body fails to cope, the next stage begins.
- Depletion. The adaptive capacities of the body decrease. The person finds it more challenging to cope with new stressors and the risk of disease increases.
In 1974, the American psychiatrist G. Freudenberger introduced into psychology the notion of “emotional burnout syndrome”. During this period, emotional and physical exhaustion grows, and interest in one’s activity disappears. Nowadays, this condition is associated with psychological and physiological signs of stress. A lot of scientific evidence allows us to consider stress a complex physiological phenomenon. It cannot be tied to the nervous system alone.
The Main Signs of Stress
Symptoms of stress vary. Changes in the mental state occur in all spheres of the psyche:
- In the emotional sphere, the signs of stress are a feeling of emotional elevation or increased anxiety, apathy, depression, and emotional discomfort.
- In the cognitive sphere – impending threat, danger, and being in a “suspended” state.
- Behavioral – a change of activity, the habitual pace of work.
- In the motivational, there is either mobilization of forces or the person begins to run away from the situation, escaping from the stressors.
Common to all of the above is an increase or decrease in the intensity of life processes in the corresponding sphere.
In diagnosing a stress condition, experts determine the ratio of objective and subjective parameters.
When diagnosing stress conditions, the question of the correlation between objective and subjective parameters is difficult.
Objective Signs of Stress
- Physical symptoms. Heart pain, tachycardia, limb tremors, hair loss, headaches, skin diseases, so-called “stress diseases” (ulcers, asthma, back pain, etc.). Symptoms are almost always the same with any stimulus and differ only in their individual intensity.
- Behavioral signs of stress. The level of performance decreases, eating habits change, excessive aggression or, on the contrary, lethargy appears, and there is an abuse of harmful substances (tobacco, alcohol, drugs, medications).
- Mental symptoms. Anxiety, insomnia, depression, hostility, apathy, and others.
Subjective Signs of Stress
- A person feels that they are losing control over themselves.
- Frequent feeling of fatigue, increased fatigue.
- Bad moods, irritability.
- Experiencing mental discomfort.
- There is also physical discomfort and discomfort from the somatic system of the body (muscles ache, headaches, backaches, pressure rises).
- Cognitive performance is impaired – memory deteriorates, attention is difficult to retain, thought processes are hampered, etc.
Increased interest in the subjective signs of psychological stress is associated with the fact that by them you can determine the mental stability of the body (how much the person has adapted to the situation). Then a person’s attitude to stressors – cognitive assessment – is determined. Depending on personality characteristics, the duration and strength of stress reactions have individual character.
The problem of psychological stress is becoming increasingly urgent, as modern living conditions continue to become more and more extreme in social, economic, environmental, technological, and personal terms.
Knowing the signs of stress, the ability to analyze your own mental state changes, and noticing the manifestations of stress in people around you are some of the first steps in the fight against stress in life and at work.
As soon as the first signs of stress appear, seeing a specialist as soon as possible is necessary. Untreated stress will turn into chronic stress, and then develop into depression, personality disorder, or more serious mental illness.