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.
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.
The primary cause of stress is increased demands on any system or organ brought on physically or emotionally.
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:
Hospitalization Marriage or reconciliation Sexual difficulties Discovery that one is to become a parent Change of job Change in health of a close family member Jet lag Loss of job, retirement Debt Trouble with in-laws Minor brush with the law Problems at work Premenstrual syndrome Death of a close family member Important personal success Change in finances Children start or finish school Death of a relative Children leave home Working with someone strongly disliked Death in the direct family Domestic 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:
Irritable bowel syndrome
Pressure changes (often hypertension)
Anxiety Maladjusted social relationships Depression Maladjusted interpersonal relationships Changed behavior Any other personality disorder Nervousness Maladjusted sexual relationships Bizarre behavior
Structure & Function:
Immune System Support
Energy metabolism &
Adult Child/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 C 1,000 - 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.
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 pressure Increased heart rate Increased respiratory rate Elevated level of anxiety
St. John's wort
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.
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.
Blumenthal, M (Ed.): The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. American Botanical Council. Austin, TX. 1998.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Anxiety Lichen planus Asthma Menstruation Baldness Nervousness Circulatory system disorders Parkinson's disease Depression Peptic ulcers Eczema Premenstrual syndrome Fatigue Psoriasis Gastritis Spasm Heart disorders Ulcerative colitis Irritable bowel syndrome
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