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Coping with stress

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Coping with stress There are two main approaches to stress management these are the physical approach and the psychological approach The physical approach One way of coping with stress is the use of drugs. Drugs are related to the bodily processes involved in the stress response. They interfere with the activity of the ANS. Barbiturates depress the activity in the central nervous system and reduce anxiety. For a long time these were used in stress management but have been known to cause undesirable side effects, such as slurred speech, and can be addictive. Valium and Librium are the most commonly used. They act on synapses and neurotransmitters, especially by promoting GABA, which is the body's natural form of anxiety relief. GABA reduces serotonin levels, a neurotransmitter related to arousal and aggression. The common side-effects of benzodiazepines include sleeplessness and dependence. Buspirone enhances the effects of serotonin, thus reducing anxiety, but also has side effects such as depression. Drugs can be effective in reducing stress but only in the short term. Drugs only deal with the symptoms and don't tackle with the real problem. In the long term drugs often have unpleasant side-effects and problems with dependence Biofeedback is a technique to learn voluntary control of involuntary muscles or voluntary muscles that can't normally be controlled, such as blood pressure and heart rate. ...read more.


This kind of treatment is costly time consuming and requires effort and commitment, if these cant be given it will not work. On the other hand biofeedback is non-invasive, has virtually no side-effects, and can be effective over the long term. Other physical methods of stress control include exercise as this improves circulation which strengthens the heart. Goldwater and collis (1985) found that exercise was positively related to decreased anxiety. Emotional discharge, expressing emotion through crying, anger or humour is also thought to help stress management. The psychological approach Stress inoculation therapy was proposed by Meichenbaum (1985). He proposed a form of therapy to protect an individual before dealing with stress rather than dealing with it afterwards. This is a form of cognitive therapy because it aims to change the way the individual thinks about their problem rather than changing the problem itself. There are three main phases to this therapy. These are: * Assessment, the therapist and patient discuss potential problem areas. * Stress reduction techniques are taught such as relaxation using self-coping statements such as 'stop worrying, because it's pointless'. * Application and follow-through, here a patient practices stress reduction techniques in role play, and then uses them in real life. ...read more.


This emphasises the transactional nature of the model . Support comes from Lazarus et al 1965 who tried to show how situational factors affected the stress response. Using 66 students he performed a laboratory experiment. Participants were shown a stressful film called "Woodshop" it contained some scenes of accidents in a sawmill. There were three situations under which the film was shown. * Situation 1: denial: participants were told that the people were actors, the events were staged and nobody was injured. * Situation2: intellectualisation: They were asked to consider the film in terms of its value for monitoring safety at work. * Situation 3: control: no instructions. Stress was assessed by measuring participants GSR and heart rate while they watched the film. They were also asked at the end to evaluate how stressful they thought the film was. In groups 1 and 2 they found lower physiological stress while watching the film and reported less after. From this they concluded the same event may be threatening or not, depending on how its contents are appraised. This can be used to explain individual differences in stress response to the same stressors. The model is especially appropriate to human behaviour because it incorporates the role of appraisal in the stress response. A weakness is that the model is descriptive rather than explanatory. 1 ...read more.

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