Mental health articles

OF mental health care and mentally ill

Three Phases of Stress Response

Stress is ‘a specific kind of biological reaction, which can be expressed emotionally’(Barker 1993). Problems occur when exposure to stress is extended over an interval of time and when that stress is allowed to attain excessive levels. This can weaken the person’s capacity to cope with their everyday problems and, in turn, could lead to a breakdown in the mental health of the person in question. However, to avoid this situation, it is essential that the sources of the stress are identified and modified accordingly. Three Phases of Stress Response as follow: (Seyle 1956):

1. Alarm: reaction to the situation

2. Resistance: continued reaction, resulting in prolonged release of cortisol3. Exhaustion: inability to cope, requires intervention.

Problems with stress begin to occur when continued reaction is prolonged over a period of time. While cortisol is one of the body’s essential hormones, too much cortisol in the system can have detrimental effects. Cortisol is responsible for inhibiting infection, especially viral infection. It is also responsible for converting carbohydrates to glucose to give the body energy. However, if the level of cortisol is sustained at a high level in the body, it can interfere with the body’s other internal mechanisms, especially those which promote the ability to rest and sleep.Consequently, this results in increased over activity and does not allow the body time to refresh itself. The person is more susceptible to infections and may develop depression due to a changing level of neurotransmitters in the brain. With the sympathetic nervous system continuously working overtime, energy levels will be depleted when the body is reliant on energy stores in times of true crisis.

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