When a person suffers from stress, the first of the reactions to stress is that the brain initiates 1400 different responses and dumps many chemicals into the blood stream. This helps in giving the person few moments to do. What is important to survive? If nothing is done, then the person can suffer a heart attack. There are people who drink alcohol. People feel depressed, feel pain in the chest and find difficulty in sleeping. These are the external reactions to stress. The body’s immunity system becomes weak. Many a time, it leads to diseases like cancer and the person dies. Stress is never identified as the real cause of death. It is always some other disease that is termed as the cause of death.
The reactions to stress are termed as General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS) in which three stages are involved. In its first stage, adrenaline and other psychological mechanisms are released by the body in order to fight the stress and remain in control. The muscles get tense, the heart beat gets faster, breathing and sweating increase, the eyes expand and the stomach tightens in reactions to stress. You will be surprised to know that all this happens naturally to save you in case anything bad happens. The body will start functioning in a normal manner as soon as the cause of stress is taken care of.
If the cause of stress still persists, the reactions to stress i.e GAS moves to the second stage that is called resistance. This is the response of the body for long-term protection. Hormones are secreted to increase the level of blood sugar to maintain energy and increase blood pressure. These are reactions to stress to provide resistance. Corticosteroids are the hormones that are produced for resistance. If the defense mechanism of the body overuses them, then it can lead to disease. If this second stage of resistance continues for long without any relaxation, the patient can suffer from fatigue, concentration can weaken, and he can feel irritated and lazy.
In the third stage called exhaustion, the reactions to stress become weak, the body loses its energy reserve and immunity also becomes weak. The level of blood sugar in the body decreases and that reduces the level of stress tolerance, physical and mental exhaustion and collapse. In this stage, the reactions to stress lose their momentum.
In persons suffering from chronic anxiety and depression, the process of reactions to stress malfunctions. Too much stress in early life leads to disruption of the cycle of reactions to stress that starts in the body when a crisis comes up. The process of secreting cortisols continues even after the crisis is over which leads to exhaustion of the stress mechanism thereby causing tiredness and depression. Cortisol also disturbs the serotonin activity, which worsens the depressive effect.
In persons suffering from severe stress, the cycle of reactions to stress adopted by the body keeps continuing that leads to high levels of cortisol that weaken the immune system and the person becomes very susceptible to problems like cold, flu and even cancer. At times, serious ailments like cancer can lead to the death of the person. However, there is good news. If persons suffering from stress and depression are treated with proper medication and psychotherapy, they can come out of their worries; develop their self-confidence resulting in better immunity and healthier lives. The cycle of reactions to stress can start functioning in a normal manner.