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Are All Diseases From Stress? 6 Clear SOS Signals Of Our Body - The Quality Of Life
Are All Diseases From Stress? 6 Clear SOS Signals Of Our Body - The Quality Of Life

Video: Are All Diseases From Stress? 6 Clear SOS Signals Of Our Body - The Quality Of Life

Video: Are All Diseases From Stress? 6 Clear SOS Signals Of Our Body - The Quality Of Life
Video: Stress response physiology 2023, June

Today, bodily ailments are common, based on psychological factors. And quite often a person recovers after discovering and dealing with repressed psychological problems that have triggered dangerous stress reactions. How to recognize the body's psychosomatic reactions?

Physical illness can be the result of stress

The idea of the existence of a direct connection between the soma (body) and the psyche (soul) arose long ago. Initially, European medicine was based on two approaches: holistic and anatomical.

The founder of the first, natural approach was Hippocrates. The leading thesis of his doctrine was that a person is sick, and not some particular organ. Accordingly, it is necessary to treat the patient as a whole, since it makes no sense to treat somatic ailments without freeing the psyche from problems.

The anatomical approach preaches the opposite: it is necessary to find the exact place affected by the disease and act exclusively on it, without taking into account the psychological state of the patient.

From the middle of the 19th century, official medicine began to use an exclusively anatomical approach. And only in our time the situation began to change due to the active development of psychosomatic medicine.

How stress affects the body

Researchers working in the field of psychosomatics have provided compelling evidence that patient recovery is possible only by identifying and solving repressed psychological problems that triggered dangerous stress reactions.

According to supporters of psychosomatics, it is a chronic or sudden stressful condition that is the cause of many somatic and neurological diseases. Stress marks a cascade of various physiological reactions that lead to changes in the functioning of all organs and systems of the body.

1st signal. Musculoskeletal system

When a person is agitated, scared, angry, his muscles tense. Muscular tension is a reflex response to stress, the body's natural way of protecting against injury and pain.

In case of sudden intense stress, the skeletal muscles tense at the same time, and then, when the stress state has passed, the muscles relax.

Chronic stress leads to the fact that the muscles are in a more or less constant state of "alert". When the muscles are tense for a long period of time, it provokes the development of other reactions of the body, which gives rise to many diseases

For example, tension headaches or migraines are associated with chronic muscle spasm in the shoulders, neck, and head. Pain in the lower back and upper extremities is also associated with stress, especially caused by grueling monotonous work.

Millions of people suffer from chronic painful conditions that arise secondarily after pathologies of the musculoskeletal system. A common cause of chronic pain is how a person responds to trauma.

People who fear repetitive trauma and pain, who seek only a physical cause and a cure for their injury, usually have a worse prognosis for recovery than those who are fear-free and maintain a certain level of moderate, physician-controlled activity.

2nd signal. Respiratory system

The respiratory system supplies cells with oxygen and removes carbon dioxide from the body. Stress and intense emotions are accompanied by respiratory symptoms such as shortness of breath and rapid breathing as the airway becomes smaller. For people who do not have respiratory system diseases, a single short-term stress is not a problem, since the body can cope with the additional load in order to breathe fully and comfortably. But regular and occasional stressors can worsen breathing problems in people with pre-existing respiratory tract pathologies, such as bronchial asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Studies have shown that acute intense stress, such as the death of a loved one, can trigger asthma attacks. In addition, hyperventilation of the lungs triggered by stress can trigger a panic attack in a person prone to anxiety attacks

Working with a psychotherapist to develop relaxation methods, teaching breathing techniques helps to prevent the development of diseases of the respiratory system.

3rd signal. The cardiovascular system

The heart and blood vessels work in concert to provide the body with oxygen and nutrients. The activity of these two components of the cardiovascular system also changes with the development of responses to stress.

Acute short-term stress (for example, being forced to be in a traffic jam or suddenly pressing the brakes to avoid an accident) causes an increase in heart rate due to the release of hormones - adrenaline, norepinephrine and cortisol. In addition, under stress, the blood vessels that direct blood to the heart dilate, thereby increasing the amount of blood pumped by the organ, increasing blood pressure.

Chronic stress experienced over a long period of time contributes to long-term and difficult to overcome problems with the heart and blood vessels

Continuous increases in heart rate, elevated levels of stress hormones, and high blood pressure harm the body, increasing the risk of developing hypertension, myocardial infarction or stroke.

Repeated acute and persistent chronic stress contribute to the development of inflammatory processes in the circulatory system, especially in the coronary arteries. This is one of the mechanisms that directly links stress to a heart attack.

4th signal. Endocrine and immune system

When a person perceives a situation as difficult, threatening or uncontrollable, the brain triggers a cascade of reactions associated with the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis, which is the main driving force of endocrine stress. Ultimately this leads to an increase in the production of steroid hormones, which include cortisol, often referred to as the "stress hormone".

During stress, the hypothalamus signals the pituitary gland to release a hormone, which in turn signals the adrenal glands to increase cortisol production.

Cortisol increases the level of available energy fuel by mobilizing glucose and fatty acids from the liver. During a stressful event, elevated levels of this hormone provide the energy needed to solve long-term or extreme problems. However, the constant excessive synthesis of cortisol leads to severe endocrine pathologies.

Glucocorticoids, including cortisol, are important in regulating the immune system and reducing inflammation. This is useful in stressful or threatening situations where trauma triggers the activation of the immune system.

However, chronic stress leads to dysfunction of the immune system, serving as the foundation for the development of numerous conditions of physical and mental ill health, such as chronic fatigue syndrome

5th signal. Gastrointestinal tract

The gut contains hundreds of millions of neurons that function quite independently, but remain in constant communication with the brain. Stress negatively affects the communication between the brain and the gut and can cause pain, bloating, and intestinal discomfort.

When stressed, people eat much more or less than usual. Unusual food in large quantities, an increase in alcohol or tobacco use lead to heartburn or a change in the acidity of gastric juice. Stress, loss of appetite, and subsequent exhaustion also increase the chances of recurring stomach pain. Stress reactions make it difficult to swallow and chew food, increase the volume of air that has entered the digestive system, which leads to belching, excessive gas formation, and "bloating" of the abdomen. A common cause of vomiting is exposure to intense stressors.

Psychological problems especially negatively affect the health of people with chronic diseases of the digestive system. Therefore, the timely and complete resolution of internal conflicts, the search and processing of repressed emotions is a necessary condition in the treatment of psychosomatic diseases

6th signal. Nervous system

When the body is under stress, the sympathetic nervous system triggers what is called a fight-or-flight response. The brain directs available energy resources to fight a threat to life or flee from the enemy. The sympathetic nervous system signals the adrenal glands to secrete hormones: adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones, together with the direct action of the autonomic nerves:

  • make the heart beat faster;
  • breathing rate increases;
  • blood vessels dilate;
  • the digestion process changes;
  • increases the level of glucose in the bloodstream.

The reaction of the sympathetic nervous system is sudden and very rapid. This is necessary in order to quickly prepare the body to respond to an emergency or acute stress. Once the crisis is over, the body usually returns to the trouble-free state it was in before the emergency.

Chronic stress over a long period of time leads to depletion of the body. That is why it is extremely important to timely change reactions to stress, changing the perception of events, learning how to relax

Stress management

Scientists and doctors now know a lot more about effective strategies to reduce stress responses. These helpful strategies can help you recover your mental health.

When a person needs additional support, is experiencing extreme or chronic stress, it may be worth contacting a therapist.


A professional can help you identify hidden psychological problems and stressors that affect your daily life and suggest ways to improve your overall physical and mental well-being

List of literature on psychosomatics

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  11. Peynovska R., Fisher J., Oliver D., Matthew VM Efficacy of hypnotherapy as a supplement therapy in cancer intervention. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of The Royal College of Psychiatrists, 30 June - 3 July 2003.
  12. Seligman M. EP Helplessness: On Depression, Development, and Death. San Francisco: WH Freeman, 1975.
  13. Selye H. A Syndrome Produced by Diverse Nocuous Agents // Nature. July 4, 1936. Vol. 138. P. 32.
  14. Spiegel D., Moore R. Imagery and hypnosis in the treatment of cancer patients // Oncology. 11 (8). P. 1179-1195.
  15. Swiss Study Group for Complementary and Alternative Methods in Cancer, SCAC. Hamer's 'New Medicine'. Swiss Cancer League (2001).
  16. Visintainer MA, Volpicelli JR, Seligman MEP Tumorrejection in rats after inescapable versus escapable shock // Science. 1982. 216. P. 437-439.
  17. Yates JL, Nashby W. Dissociation, affect, and network models of memory: an integrative proposal // Journal of Traumatic Stress. 1993. V. 6. P. 3.

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