Text Size

Site Search powered by Ajax

Stress

Stress

Description

Stress can occur in both physical and psychological forms. Physically, stress results from overused and fatigued organs, as occurs in a stress fracture. Psychologically, stress is the inability of the ego to cope with daily confrontations.

Uncontrolled stress gives rise to physical and emotional disorders. Daily controllable emotional stresses are a part of life which lead to emotional control and stability.

In either form, stress can lead to changes in the body secretions, especially by the neuroendocrine system, changes in blood circulation, and increased muscle tension. These changes in body chemistry increase susceptibility to physical illness, mental and emotional problems, and accidental injuries.

It is common, if not always the case, that stress and anxiety occur concurrently.

Controlling Stress

According to the American Medical Association, the following abbreviated outline is the best way to control stress.

1. First, concentrate on problems as they are in the present. Do not worry about a future or past situation which cannot be controlled.

2. Consider all problems one by one.

3. Consult someone who can offer reasonable advise.

4. Act promptly and decisively once a decision is made.

5. Once action has been taken, remain occupied until a conclusion is reached.

6. Even if one feels someone else is at fault, learn not to hold grudges or blame others for problems as they exist now. Constant frustration accomplishes nothing and can damage mental health.

7. Time should be devoted daily to physical relaxation, which frees the mind from preoccupations. Otherwise, a daily routine should be followed as closely as possible.

8. Avoid thinking about problems before bedtime.

9. Finally, learn to recognize crises brought on by stress and learn to accept being overwhelmed and unable to deal with situations alone. This may require speaking to a health care professional or visiting a community mental health organization.

Causes

Primary Factors
The primary cause of stress is increased demands on any system or organ brought on physically or emotionally.

Predisposing Factors

Physical
Overexertion

Psychological
Psychological stress can be brought on by almost any life situation, physical or emotional. The severity depends upon the individual's reaction and ability to cope with the situation. Stressful crises include natural catastrophes and war-related tensions.

The American Medical Association further ranks the following situations from worst to least in causing stress:

HospitalizationMarriage or reconciliation
Sexual difficultiesDiscovery that one is to become a parent
Change of jobChange in health of a close family member
Jet lagLoss of job, retirement
DebtTrouble with in-laws
Minor brush with the lawProblems at work
Premenstrual syndromeDeath of a close family member
Important personal successChange in finances
Children start or finish schoolDeath of a relative
Children leave homeWorking with someone strongly disliked
Death in the direct familyDomestic changes other than family
Divorce or separation


New member is born into immediate family
New member marries into immediate family

Signs & Symptoms

Symptoms which may be aggravated or caused by stress include:

Digestive system
Gastritis
Ulcerative colitis
Peptic ulcers
Irritable bowel syndrome

Reproductive organs
Menstruation problems
Impotence
Amenorrhea
Premature ejaculation

Bladder
Incontinence
Irritation

Skin
Eczema
Psoriasis

Hair
Baldness

Mouth
Ulcers
Lichen planu

Lungs
Asthma

Muscles
Spasms
Tremors
Twitches
Parkinson's disease

Heart disorders
Angina pectoris
Rhythm changes
Rate changes
Pressure changes (often hypertension)

Circulatory disorders
Polycythemia
Hypolipoproteinemia

Psychological disturbances

AnxietyMaladjusted social relationships
DepressionMaladjusted interpersonal relationships
Changed behaviorAny other personality disorder
NervousnessMaladjusted sexual relationships
Bizarre behavior

Nutritional Supplements

Structure & Function:
        Immune System Support
        Energy metabolism &
        Antioxidants


---------------------------------
General Supplements
---------------------------------

AdultChild/Adolescent
Magnesium 400 - 600 mg 400 - 600 mg
Niacinamide 50 - 100 mg 50 - 100 mg
Thiamine 25 - 50 mg 25 - 50 mg
Vitamin B-2 25 - 50 mg 25 - 50 mg
Vitamin B-6 50 - 100 mg 50 - 100 mg
Vitamin C1,000 - 3,000 mg 1,000 - 3,000 mg



Note: All amounts are in addition to those supplements having a Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA). Due to individual needs, one must always be aware of a possible undetermined effect when taking nutritional supplements. If any disturbances from the use of a particular supplement should occur, stop its use immediately and seek the care of a qualified health care professional.



Dietary Considerations

No diet is specifically prescribed for stress by the American Dietetics Association. Barring any underlying health condition, a Dietary Goals Diet should be followed to provide all the nutrients necessary for building a sound and disease-resistant body.

There is debate over the effectiveness of vitamin C as an "anti-stress vitamin." It is widely accepted, however, some people metabolize vitamin C at an accelerated rate while under stress. These people would definitely benefit from vitamin C supplementation.

Emotional stress can produce calcium deficiency, either through impaired absorption or increased excretion of the mineral. Supplements should be taken to restore equilibrium, and to possibly prevent osteoporosis in later years.

Caffeine intake should be limited in stressful situations as consumption of large amounts of caffeine (more than 200 milligrams per day) excessively stimulates the nervous system, and can worsen the symptoms of stress:

Increased blood pressureIncreased heart rate
Increased respiratory rateElevated level of anxiety



Emotional stress decreases an individual's glucose tolerance and can aggravate diabetes mellitus if it is present.

Herbal Approaches

----------
Herbs
-----------


Catnip
Hops
St. John's wort
Valerian

Note: The misdirected use of an herb can produce severely adverse effects, especially in combination with prescription drugs. This Herbal information is for educational purposes and is not intended as a replacement for medical advice.

Discussion:

Catnip, Hops and Valerian are noted for their calming effect.

St. John's wort may be applied as a topical oil, as well as being an antidepressant.

Kava kava is uniquely recommended by the German Commission E for stress.

References:

Blumenthal, M (Ed.): The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. American Botanical Council. Austin, TX. 1998.

Homeopathic Remedy


1.* Chamomilla tinct. - 30C
2. Lachesis mutus tinct. - 30C
3.* Valeriana - 30C can use tincture very well (and probably best).
4. Passiflora incarnata tinct.

Advanced, by symptom:

1. Irritable, hard-driving - Nux vomica.

2. Emotional stress e.g. grief - Ignatia amara.

3. Can't cope, helpless and hopeless - Sepia.

Tension/Anxiety

1.* Ichthyolum

Treatment Schedule

Doses cited are to be administered on a 3X daily schedule, unless otherwise indicated. Dose usually continued for 2 weeks. Liquid preparations usually use 8-10 drops per dose. Solid preps are usually 3 pellets per dose. Children use 1/2 dose.

Legend

X = 1 to 10 dilution - weak (triturition)
C = 1 to 100 dilution - weak (potency)
M = 1 to 1 million dilution (very strong)
X or C underlined means it is most useful potency

Asterisk (*) = Primary remedy. Means most necessary remedy. There may be more than one remedy - if so, use all of them.


References

Boericke, D.E., 1988. Homeopathic Materia Medica.

Coulter, C.R., 1986. Portraits of Homeopathic Medicines.

Kent, J.T., 1989. Repertory of the Homeopathic Materia Medica.

Koehler, G., 1989. Handbook of Homeopathy.

Shingale, J.N., 1992. Bedside Prescriber.

Smith, Trevor, 1989. Homeopathic Medicine.

Ullman, Dana, 1991. The One Minute (or so) Healer.

Tissue Salts

Calc. Phos.mind wanders, can't concentrate;
Kali Phos.primary remedy, nervousness, sleeplessness etc.
Nat. Mur.depression, anxiety over health;


Aromatherapy - Essential Oils

Basil Essence,Benzoin Essence,
Camphor Essence,Clary Sage,
Cypress Essence,Lavender Essence,
Mandarin Essence,Marjoram Essence,
Melissa Essence,Rose Essence,
Rosewood Essence,Sandalwood Essence,
Ylang-Ylang Essence.



Related Health Conditions

Any system can be affected by stress. Some related conditions are:

AnxietyLichen planus
AsthmaMenstruation
BaldnessNervousness
Circulatory system disordersParkinson's disease
DepressionPeptic ulcers
EczemaPremenstrual syndrome
FatiguePsoriasis
GastritisSpasm
Heart disordersUlcerative colitis
Irritable bowel syndrome



Abstracts

References

Berkow, R. 1977. The Merck Manual. Merck Sharp and Dohme Research

Ballentine, R. 1978. Diet and Nutrition. The Himalayan International Institute Pub., Honesdale, Pennsylvania. 634 pp. Laboratories Pub., Rahway, New Jersey. 2165 pp.

Bland, Jeffrey. Nutraerobics. San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1983.

Bland, Jeffrey. Medical Applications of Clinical Nutrition. New Canaan, Conn.: Keats, 1983.

Cheng Y et al., Effects of stress on indices for assessing zinc nutrition status. Chung Hua Yu Fang I Hsueh Tsa Chih, 30(1):20-2 1996 Jan.

Deferne JL & Leeds AR: Resting blood pressure and cardiovascular reactivity to mental arithmetic in mild hypertensive males supplemented with blackcurrant seed oil. J Hum Hypertens, 10(8):531-7 1996 Aug.

Edwards CH et al., Maternal stress and pregnancy outcomes in a prenatal clinic population. J Nutr, 124(6 Suppl):1006S-1021S 1994 Jun.

Ezoe S & Morimoto K: Behavioral lifestyle and mental health status of Japanese factory workers. Prev Med, 23(1):98-105 1994 Jan.

Fitzsimmons L & Hadley SA: Nutritional management of the metabolically stressed patient. Crit Care Nurs Q 1995 Feb;17(4):79-90.

Friedl KE & Hoyt RW: Development and biomedical testing of military operational rations. Annu Rev Nutr, 1997, 17:, 51-75.

Fruth SJ & Worrell TW: Factors associated with menstrual irregularities and decreased bone mineral density in female athletes. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther, 22(1):26-38 1995 Jul.

Godbey KL & Courage MM: Stress-management program: intervention in nursing student performance anxiety. Arch Psychiatr Nurs, 8(3):190-9 1994 Jun.

Goldin GF & Peura DA: Stress-related mucosal damage. What to do or not to do. Gastrointest Endosc Clin N Am, 6(3):505-26 1996 Jul.

Goodwin, W. J.: Nutritional Management of Head and Neck Cancer, General Considerations in the Head and Neck. Chapter 7;101-113.

Halliwell B: Oxidative stress, nutrition and health. Experimental strategies for optimization of nutritional antioxidant intake in humans. Free Radic Res, 25(1):57-74 1996 Jul.

Holtmann, G. et al: Mental Stress and Gastric Acid Secretion. Do Personality Traits Influence the Response. Dig. Disease & Sciences, August 1990;35(8):998-1007.

Howe, P.S. 1981. Basic Nutrition in Health and Disease, 7th ed. W. B. Saunders Co., Philadelphia.

Ivanovich E et al., Noise evaluation and estimation of some specific and non-specific health indicators in telephone operators. Rev Environ Health, 10(1):39-46 1994 Jan-Mar.

Jonas BS et al., Are symptoms of anxiety and depression risk factors for hypertension? Longitudinal evidence from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey I Epidemiologic Follow-up Study. Arch Fam Med, 6(1):43-9 1997 Jan-Feb.

Kanarek R: Psychological effects of snacks and altered meal frequency. Br J Nutr, 77 Suppl 1():S105-18; discussion 118-20 1997 Apr.

Kirschmann, J.D. 1990. Nutrition Almanac: Nutrition Search. McGrew-Hill: New York.

Kolb, E. Recent Knowledge Concerning the Biochemistry and Significance of Ascorbic Acid. Z. Gesamte Inn Med., 39. 1984.

Kunz, J.R.M. 1982. The American Medical Association Family Medical Guide. Random House Pub, New York. 832 pp.

Lemne C et al., Mental stress induces different reactions in nutritional and thermoregulatory human skin microcirculation: a study in borderline hypertensives and normotensives. J Hum Hypertens, 8(8):559-63 1994 Aug.

Leung, A. K.C. Robson, W. &, Lane M.: Bruxism: How to Stop Tooth Grinding and Clenching. Postgraduate Medicine, June 1991;89(8):167-171.

Lukaski HC & Penland JG: Functional changes appropriate for determining mineral element requirements. J Nutr, 126(9 Suppl):2354S-2364S 1996 Sep.

Machlin, L. The Handbook Of Vitamins. New York: Dekker, 1984.

Maruyama S et al., A study of preventive medicine in relation to mental health among middle-management employees (Part 2)--effects of long working hours on lifestyles, perceived stress and working-life satisfaction among white-collar middle-management employees. Nippon Eiseigaku Zasshi, 50(4):849-60 1995 Oct.

McAdam, P.: Job Stress Linked to Rise in Colorectal Cancer Rate. Medical Tribune, September 23, 1993;9/Epidemiology, 1993;4(5);407-413.

Petersdorf, R.G. & R.D. Adams. 1983. Harrison's Principles Of Internal Medicine. 10th ed. McGraw Hill Pub Co., New York. 2212 pp.

Pike, Ruth L. & Myrtle L. Brown. Nutrition: An Integrated Approach. New York: Wiley, 1971.

Satterlee, D.G. et al: Vitamin C Amelioration of the Adrenal Stress Response in Broiler Chickens Being Prepared for Slaughter. Comp. Biochem. Thysiol., 1989;94A(4):569-574.

Simon HB: Patient-directed, nonprescription approaches to cardiovascular disease. Arch Intern Med, 154(20):2283-96 1994 Oct 24.

Subak-Sharpe, G.J. 1984. The Physician's Manual For Patients. Times Books Pub, New York. 607 pp.

Tashiro T et al., Effect of severity of stress on whole-body protein kinetics in surgical patients receiving parenteral nutrition. Nutrition, 1996 Nov-Dec, 12:11-12, 763-5.

Watanabe Y et al., Fat emulsions as an ideal nonprotein energy source under surgical stress for diabetic patients. Nutrition, 11(6):734-8 1995 Nov-Dec.

Weinstein SE et al: Changes in food intake in response to stress in men and women: psychological factors. Appetite, 1997 Feb, 28:1, 7-18.