Discuss research into the relationship between stress and illness

discuss research into the relationship between stress and illness

Hans Selye () study the body's response to stress using his experiment on rats; Psychologist have also argued on the relationship between stress and. A plausible mechanism to explain the effects stress will reinforce it. Cohen began the research that propelled him to the forefront of this field back in While this work confirmed the association between stress and illness, it left Cohen itself to a receptor it triggers a chain of chemical events within the cell. “Explain the Relationship Between Stress and Illness. Outline and In an early study, monkeys were placed in restraining chairs and conditioned to press a lever. behavior into electrical signals which are made accessible” (Eysenck, ).

Their health was not just caused by the biological affect of years of stress, but on the behavioral response of drinking because of their increased stress.

Stress may not have directly caused the high blood pressure, but it did cause a change in behavioral responses within the air traffic controllers.

discuss research into the relationship between stress and illness

It is important to remember that not all stress is bad for the body or mind. Has stress at school or work ever prompted you to achieve something worthwhile and helped you develop new skills? Many Psychologists have found that not all stress is bad. Stress can help motivation, problem solving, and the fighting of infections.

Lecture 2b- 12 mark essay

Some Cancer survivors emerge with a newfound spirituality or stronger self-esteem because of the stress they endured and then conquered. A personal battle with long-term health problems can be very difficult and stressful, however some individuals start to develop a new self worth and new dreams and desires because of it. When someone survives an illness or life-threatening situation more times than not a person will take life less serious and live everyday thankful to be alive.

This attitude is what helps most survivors deal with the situation that has arose in their lives. It was this positive stress outcome that helped mold my life into what it is today.

My first semester at college I became very ill with what I believed to be a horrible stomach bug.

The Relationship Between Stress and Physical Illness | Applied Social Psychology (ASP)

As the days and then weeks passed and symptoms became worse, I began seeing doctors and specialists daily. I had to leave school and soon became hospitalized. It took doctors weeks to finally discover what was wrong and plan a course of action. After months of being too ill to walk without blacking out, I still remember the first day I successfully walked around my house, and then down the block and can even recall the fresh air after spending so long in hospitals and inside lying in bed.

discuss research into the relationship between stress and illness

I felt a sense of joy and excitement towards life and the smallest of things that I had never felt before. The stress of being so sick and the positive outcome of getting better changed my entire viewpoint on life.

discuss research into the relationship between stress and illness

I started back at school a year later with the highest amount of self esteem I had ever had in my life and the general desire to worry less and experience more.

Despite all the stress of being ill and even the stress of having to put my life on hold, the outcome was something I could never have achieved without going through all that stress in the first place.

In conclusion, stress is something everyone has to deal with at some point in his or her lives.

discuss research into the relationship between stress and illness

Stress, says Cohen, changes the sensitivity of these receptors; they become resistant to the activating effects of cortisol. This is why its synthetic equivalent, hydrocortisone, is used in treating a range of inflammatory conditions, from eczema to ulcerative colitis. Inflammation in this context refers not to the sudden burst of activity you get following acute infection or injury — a protective attempt to deal with some form of harm to the body and to initiate the healing process — but to a low level elevation of chemical processes that are there all the time.

If Cohen is right, we now know how. Stress reduces the sensitivity of the receptors in effect chemical switches which are supposed to control the level of inflammation in the body. Detecting resistance This possibility has actually been under consideration for some time. Cohen himself published some of the early work on glucocorticoid resistance. One study looked at parents of children with cancer: Back to the common cold.

Discuss research into stress-related illness and the immune system

Cohen realised that data from two of his previous studies could be used to test this glucocorticoid resistance theory. Other research has shown that this acts as a surrogate measure of glucocorticoid resistance. The experiment revealed that prolonged stress is correlated not only with the likelihood of developing a cold, but also with higher levels of glucocorticoid resistance.

In other words, the people whose receptors responded inadequately to the cortisol in their blood were the ones who got the colds. In a second study, Cohen had made direct measurements of glucocorticoid resistance in a group of 79 subjects before exposure to cold viruses.

The findings of both studies point in the same direction. What counts is not the amount of cortisol circulating in the body, but how much our cells react to it. So what of more serious disease? The real importance of the work, says Cohen, lies in its relevance to the many other conditions in which inflammation is a factor. Cardiovascular disease, asthma, autoimmune disease, diabetes…The regulation of inflammation plays a big role in the progression of all of them.

And Phil Evans too joins the chorus of acceptance.

discuss research into the relationship between stress and illness

But when it comes to the health effects of their status in a hierarchy, the forces at work are more subtle. One possibility is that people fare less well when they find themselves unable to determine their own actions and make their own choices. The crossover with stress is obvious. Professor Steptoe is investigating the cortisol biochemistry associated with their predicament, especially as it affects their risk of heart disease.

Definitive proof Cohen readily admits that proving his hypothesis will be difficult, at least for now.

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  • Stress and illness: The decades-long search for a link

One of the classic methods of studying a biological system in animal models is to disturb it in some way — stimulate it or inhibit it, for example — and see what happens. While animal work showing that chronic stress affects glucocorticoid resistance is persuasive, it is not definitive.

He knows, for example, of another group of researchers planning a study of the role of glucocorticoid resistance in asthma.

BBC - Future - Stress and illness: The decades-long search for a link

There is always the possibility that the definitive experiment will always remain out of reach, in which case stress researchers might find themselves in the position of doctors trying to demonstrate a causal link between lung cancer and smoking. Unable to do the definitive experiment they have had to rely on an accumulation of observational studies, animal experiments, and studies of the physiological mechanisms most likely involved. After thirty years of exploration, Cohen says he remains undaunted by the prospect that definitive experiment might elude him, and he laughs off any suggestion of frustration.