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Acute Stress Disorder
Severe reaction immediately following a terrifying event, often including amnesia about the event, emotional numbing, and derealization. Many victims later develop PTSD.
- characterized by three conditions:
- -Thereis a excessive psychological reaction that impairs functioning (usually greater than what the average person would experience).
- -The reaction clearly arises from environmental difficulties (stress).
- -The condition is limited in time (maximum of six months) and goes away fairly soon after the stressor is removed.
The two most common psychological reactions to stress are depression and anxiety. Not surprisingly, then, two of the adjustment disorders are Adjustment Disorder with Depressed Mood (< 6 months. > 6 months would be major depression) and Adjustment Disorder with Anxiety.
Whether or not we can actually deal effectively with the challenge is often less important than what we believe about our ability.
primary appraisal, in which we evaluate the extremeness of the challenge and its threat to us; and secondary appraisal, in which we evaluate what avenues are open to us to deal with the challenge, and in light of those, what is likely to happen to us. The process of appraisal seems to allow for the extremely wide variety of reactions we see to common stressors.
The stress buffering model, initially very popular, stated that social support "buffered" the negative effects of stress. If, in fact, social support softens the impact of stress, we should largely observe the benefits of social support when stressor levels are high, with little or no effect when we are not stressed. That is, under low stress, those with high social support should be no better off than those with low social support.
The main effects model proposes that social support has little to do with stress per se. Rather, it simply raises our overall psychological functioning. Thus, those with high social support benefit whether or not stressors are present.
A pattern of behavior for dealing with anxiety-arousing situations
Hormones, including cortisol, released by the adrenal gland in response to stressors to activate and, later, to turn off the body's stress response. Known as stress hormones.
- This approach suggests that it is the cumulative effect of many minor demands that are significant for most persons. Bills to pay, unpleasant
- relationships, housekeeping, family conflicts, and so on all add up to tax our resources. Much research has shown that those who report more
- daily hassles do indeed experience more stress outcomes.
Negative demands on life as opposed to "eustress" which are positive demands.
Emotion-focused coping vs Problem-focused coping
Problem-focused coping simply refers to efforts to deal with the challenge at hand by solving it, removing it, or reducing it. In contrast, emotion-focused coping ignores the source of the stress and focuses on the stress response itself; it refers to activities that negate the negative arousal of the stress response, including relaxation, distraction (such as watching TV), and avoidance of the stress-producing stimuli. Both can be quite effective, but they operate quite differently.
General Adaptation Syndrome
Sequence of reactions to sstained stress described by Han Selye. These stages are alarm, resistance, and exhaustion which may lead to death.
Alarm Phase: The unpleasant demand startles us, grabbing our attention; our bodies react with generalized arousal.
Adaptation Phase: We engage in more coordinated efforts to meet the challenge, pulling more and more resources off of less essential tasks; this means that other needs may not be met.
Exhaustion Phase: Unless the severe stressor is removed, we expend resources too rapidly to be replaced, and eventually all our resources are used up.
Major life events
Life Event Life Change Units
Death of spouse 100
Death of close family member 63
Child leaving home 29
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
In PTSD following a traumatic experience, a person suffers from severe anxiety symptoms and threat sensitivity even though the trauma is clearly past. This is not to say that we can never recover from stress, but it usually takes time and some people never completely recover.
Acute PTSD vs. Chronic PTSD
Acute: PTSD that is diagnosed 1 to 3 months following the traumatic event.
Chronic: PTSD that endures longer than 3 months and is associated with greater avoidance and a higher likelihood of comorbidity with additional disorders.
Intervention for tics in which the person is taught to relax the muscles involved in the tics
Social support refers to the positive benefits that derive from a social network. The potential benefits are many and varied. For example, friends can help us in times of trouble, having friends contributes to self-esteem, and simply being understood by others makes burdens lighter.
Stress resilience vs vulnerablity
- -In part, this is an issue of coping skill; the latter group simply has more tools available and uses them more effectively.
- -Similarly, the appraisal process may be relevant—those most stressed perceive the stressor as more threatening, regardless of its actual threat capacity.
- -Novelty can heighten the perception of stress, because the person does not know what to expect.
- -Past experience can increase threat sensitivity if the previous experience was negative.
- -Research has also shown that those with marginal adjustment are more vulnerable to stress. Thus, those with many psychiatric conditions are often more readily affected.
- -Finally, those whose resources have been drained by past exposure to trauma or chronic exposure to stress seem more vulnerable. Those who are relatively free of these limitations, with good coping skills and plentiful resources are referred to as resilient.
Stress response / Stress outcomes
- The negative consequences of a stress process. Two of the most common are anxiety and depression. Longer-term consequences can include
- chronic medical conditions such as heart disease.
- The event or circumstances, usually in the form of demands that create a burden for the affected individual. Note that these demands can be
- imagined and still have the same effect.
tools available to us to help us meet demands. Considering some of the ways of categorizing resources helps illustrate the scope of these tools. One approach is to distinguish between tangible and intangible resources. Money is a tangible (and often quite useful) resource, as is physical help from a neighbor. In contrast, attitudes about yourself are intangible, even though they may strongly influence how you react to stressors. Another approach describes resources as personal versus environmental. Personal resources include individual attributes, such as intelligence, extroversion, knowledge in dealing with problems, and even attitudes about self such as self-esteem and confidence. Environmental resources include money, other people, access to information or tools, and so forth.