Outline and evaluate research into Stress and the Immune System Stress is the feeling of being under too much mental or emotional pressure, and is experienced when a person's perceived environmental, social, and physical demands exceed their perceived ability to cope. Stress itself is not an illness but can cause an illness if not tackled. By being stressed, it leads to an increase in cortisol (a hormone produced by the adrenal gland), and this increase in cortisol leads to a decrease in immune system functioning, which therefore leads to several illnesses. The main function of the immune system is to protect the body from infectious agents such as viruses and other toxins. In support of this theory, a natural experiment was carried out by Kiecolt Glasser et al in 1984.
This is the body’s response to a threat or danger. During this reaction, stress hormones epinephrine and norepinephrine are released from the adrenal glands. Then the sympathetic nervous system increases heart rate and respiration, slows digestion, and sends blood flow to major muscle groups giving the body energy and strength. This was what happened to
Selye was convinced that reactions to stressful situations: a. were general and nonspecific b. differed, depending on the type of stressor that was present c. were stronger when people had other physical illnesses d. differed, depending on the personality characteristics of the individual __A__ 3. The physiological reaction to an environmental threat, in which the autonomic nervous system energizes the body and hormones are released by the endocrine system, is called: a. a fight-or-flight response b. a resistance response c. a generalized anxiety response d. reaction formation ___D_ 4. In the general activation syndrome (GAS), described by Selye, the sympathetic division of the autonomic nervous system first becomes activated during: a. the resistance phase b. the stage of exhaustion c. recovery from the stress d. the alarm reaction __C__ 5. Quinn was driving his car on an icy road when the back end started to skid out of control. His car crossed the centerline, and he could see the headlights of rapidly approaching oncoming traffic.
Stress Definition from on line encyclopaedia: In psychology, a state of bodily or mental tension resulting from factors that tend to alter an existent equilibrium. In short, stress is our body’s natural reaction to fear or change. Some levels of stress are normal. They help us to achieve at a higher level when we need to. They can also help us to make decisions that have become necessary due the “stress” that a situation has caused.
The good stress is the kind that will help keep you motivated to be productive and be able to achieve the goals we set for ourselves. A person’s stress level can range from low to high. When the stress level is low the stress hormones produced will trigger stressors for boredom and depression while high-level stress triggers stressors for anxiety or excitement. Since the body reacts by producing stress hormones that will help take proper action, if you are experiencing more than one type of stressor you can use one to prevent yourself from experiencing or dealing with the other one. For example each time my husband is deployed I use the work, school and family problems stressors to distract me from worrying about him being in a dangerous mission.
This response reflects the General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS), the body’s defence against stress. The body responds in the same way to any stressor, whether it’s environmental (e.g. extreme temperature, or electric shock) or arises from within the body itself. The GAS comprises three stages: ALARM reaction, RESISTANCE and EXHAUSTION. By the last stage, the body’s resources are becoming depleted, and psycho-physiological disorders develop.
Cortisol is sometimes referred to as a ‘stress hormone’ because it is produced in times of stress. The high levels of cortisol are not surprising as many depressive episodes are preceded by stressful events. Given this, the high levels of cortisol may be a result rather than a cause of depression – they may be produced as a response to stress rather than a cause of the disorder. The Biological Model states that psychological disorders are caused, at least in part, by biological factors. This suggests that treatment should
She measured the NK cell activity to see how the immune system was effected and found that the NK cell activity had dropped significantly in the second blood sample that had been taken shows that stress had caused to lower the efficiency of the immune system and made the students were vulnerable to stress-related illnesses. Also Marucha et al. conducted a study involving a group of students. Marucha inflicted a punch-biopsy 3 days before an exam and found that the wound took 40% longer to heal when the wound was inflicted during the exam period. Also if a acute stressors could have such a negative impact on the immune system on chronic stressors where also suspected to have a similar effect.
These students showed an increase in sIgA whereas during the examination period, which stretched over several weeks, the levels of sIgA decreased. He proposed that short-term acute stress may actually up regulation therefore increasing efficiency but chronic stress may cause down-regulation. Lazarus criticised both these studies as he says that it is difficult to establish a relationship between stress and illness. He suggests that health is
This type of stress releases chemicals such as cortisol, adrenaline, and norepinephrine that will escalate our motivation, and strengthen the body. In contrast the bad stress referred as distress is when we feel threaten either physically or emotionally. For the student’s brain this can be not being able to find the solution to the problem, not having enough resources to solve the problem or having prolonged stress over experiencing repeated situations. When the brain is in distress it loses its ability to process things correctly because it poses a physical or emotional danger themselves. The area of the brain most affected by high stress is the hippocampus, which is very sensitive to cortisol.