STRESS

Silvia Irina Briganti Matteo Paolucci

What is stress and how can we define it?
Stress is a condition of alarm characterized by an excessive and persistent request of psychological and physical energies that an individual has to invest to realize his objectives or to do his duties In psychology, stress is considered as an adaptive reaction, connected to emotions and responsible of changes in physiological regulation, conscience and everyday life behaviour, in front of situations of emergency or serious danger

Eustress & Distress

*Eustress is a “positive” stress, temporary and necessary to preserve human life; *Distress is “negative” stress, prolonged and harmful for both human body and mind

Physiology vs stress
Two endocrine response systems are reactive to psychological stress: the hypotalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical axis (HPA) and the sympathetic-adrenal-medullary (SAM) system

Hypotalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical axis
Cortisol, the primary effective hormone of HPA, regulates a great range of physiological processes, like inflammatory responses, metabolism of macromolecules (proteins, lipids...) and gluconeogenesis

Sympathetic-adrenal-medullary system
Catecholamines, released after SAM activation, work with autonomic nervous system to control cardiovascular and immune systems, liver, lungs and skeletal muscles

Prolonged activation of HPA and SAM produced by stress can have serious effects on health: clinical depression, human immunodeficiency (HIV), cancer, hypertension, infectious and coronary arterie deseases etc

Immune system is vulnerable more than the others: it can be struck directly, through the innervation of lymphatic tissue, wich carries immune cells, or indirectly, through the release of HPA and SAM hormones, wich alter immune cell functions

Stressors
Common factors of stress •Physical stressors Illness, disabilities… •Enviromental stressors Poverty, natural disasters, noise… •Life situations Events, responsabilities, social and financial problems, relationships… •Behaviors Habits, lifestyle, certain patterns of thinking… Levels of stressors High level of stressors lead to distress; distress reveals itself through some particular emotional states and physical symptoms

Signs & symptoms
Symptoms are various and individuals; is possible to find out 3 levels of symptoms correlated with the increasing of stress level Anxiousness, nervousness, distraction, excessive worry, internal pressure Distracted, self-assorbed, irritable Excessive fatigue, depression, headaches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, chest pain, heart racing, dizziness or flushing, tremolousness or restleness

Does Stress cause diseases?
Stressful events & diseases

Review “Psychological stress and diseases” 10/2007 •Clinical depression •Cardiovascular disease (CVD) •Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/AIDS •Cancer Depression Role of stress • • • • • ++ Upper respiratory tract infections Asthma Herpes viral infections Autoimmune diseases Wound healing CVD ++ HIV/AIDS ++ Cancer ?

Stress treatments
First step: identification of the source of stress What type of stressors? • Illness can lead to stress • Emotional stress can lead to illness  friends, family, spiritual advisers  doctor (interview, lab tests, ECG)  Is there need of a medical treatment? Self-Care at home *Remove yourself from the source of your stress •Physically •Mentally  time-out •Relax •Formulate a plane for dealing with the problem Medical treatment *Stress affects you as an individual: everyone reacts in different ways *The treatment of your stress will vary greatly depending on the types of symptoms you are experiencing and how severe they are •In case of psycho-somatic disease, is reccomened a counseling by qualified mental health professionals •In case of physical disease, medical intervention can consist in a pharmacological treatment •Direct to the general perception (benzodiazepine, ephedrine) •Direct to the specific symptom

Prevention
stress management •Set realistic goals and limit yourself •Put things into perspective and try not to get upset about insignificant or relatively unimportant matters •Find activities that you enjoy and set aside time to participate them on a regular basis •Participate in regular physical exercise

•Mantain a positive outlook •Set goals and break them into easily achievable tasks •Manage your time •Reward yourself for the good things that you do each day

Thanks & Relax!