Responses to stressors present different impacts on each individual. Stressors have a physical and psychological effect on people although some people seem to be much less effected by stress being able to withstand high levels of stress almost as if there daily lives depend on it. Even though it is accepted stress is with us from are waking moment to the minute we sleep, almost all individuals through time suffer physical or psychological illness. Individual responses to stress have been put into to categories of personality type; a distinction has been made and put into a category of either type A or type B.
Type A are said to be competitive and assertive high achievers, being more likely to react to stress aggressively which puts them in a higher category for long term stress related illness. Type B are calmer and laid back putting them in a lower category for long term stress related illness. Gender differences in coping with stress are also very apparent. Women are said to live longer than men because their approach to stressors show less physiological arousal than men. Culture differences have a massive impact on stress. Third world counties are faced daily with the stress of finding safe and suitable food and water for their families and their own survival whereas in developed countries food and water is taken for granted almost and career goals and suitable schooling for our children is seen as a formidable stressor.
As society’s awareness of stress being an everyday part of life has become apparent, methods of stress management are now as much a part of our everyday lives as the stressors themselves. Physical and psychological methods of stress management are being practiced by millions all over the world every day. Here we will look at the different approaches plus the strengths and weaknesses of these methods. PHYSICAL METHOD OF STRESS MANAGEMENT. Drugs. Strengths.
Prescribed drug treatment seems to be the strongest source of psychological stress control. Anti depressants and BZs are prescribed to reduce the feelings of anxiety or depression induced through stress induced illness. The effect of the drugs is simple; they suitably block or reduce the activity of the brains neurotransmitter for release of serotonin, or directly reduce activity in the pathways leading to the nervous system around the body, not allowing blood pressure or the heart rate to rise, as it is these bodily systems that influence the feelings of anxiety. Once blocked or suppressed the individual when faced with a stressor will feel much calmer and able to cope with the unwanted stressor presented to them.
Weaknesses. All drugs present side effects which are usually unpleasant. Most common side effects are nausea, dizziness and stomach upset. Other side effects experienced are drowsiness and subdued awareness, these are more serious side effects which can cause a threat to personal safety whilst driving or if you are in a job that requires you to operate machinery. Drugs only treat the physical feelings experienced from stress and not the psychological cause so also present a long term threat of psychological and physical dependency for the individual should they so decide not to want to face stress or the stressor. It is advised to look on drug treatment as a tempory measure not long term so the real cause of long term stress can still be addressed.
PSYCHOLOGICAL METHOD OF STRESS MANAGEMENT. Progressive muscle relaxation. Strengths. This method is accomplished through practice and patience within the person involved. The individual must basically learn to recognise their own sensations of tension and relaxation. This is a full body relaxation technique. To accomplish this the individual will learn how to clench muscles and consciously feel the tension within themselves then unclench the muscles and recognise the feeling of relaxation within the muscles and themselves. The client will progressively learn how to achieve and sustain muscle relaxation so when faced with a stressor will be capable and in full control to consciously reduce tense bodily arousal. This is progressive muscle relaxation.
Weaknesses. This technique is more suitable for relaxation when faced with minor stressors. The individual will respond better if able to find a suitable and quite place to gain control over body reactions as this takes time and space to gain full potential. Unfortunately if presented with a stressor in an unsuitable environment i.e. supermarket or busy work place to be able to achieve full body progressive relaxation would be impossible. This technique is also unsuitable in combating long effecting long term stressors; only further deeper focused intervention behavioural strategies will achieve long-term adjustment.