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Discuss the link between stress and illness

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Discuss the link between stress and illness (12 marks). The immune system is designed to defend the body against antigens. It prevents them from entering the body and causing an illness. It works in three ways: it creates a barrier to prevent antigens from entering the body, if an antigen should get into the body, it tries to detect and eliminate the antigen, and is the virus is able to reproduce, the immune system is responsible is responsible for eliminating it before it can start causing problems. Many different investigations have been carried out into which is more damaging to the immune system, chronic stressors or acute stressors. One such investigation was carried out into stress caused by relationships. Both marital relationships and separation from a partner can be stressful. Kiecolt-Glaser in 2005 tested the impact of interpersonal conflict on wound healing. It was found that the blister wounds on the arms of marital couples healed more slowly after they had had a conflicting conversation rather than one which is supportive. ...read more.


Also, stress can cause behaviours which are unhealthy. Such as, people who are highly stressed are known to do an excess amount of drinking, smoking and eating, all of which result in an effect on the CV system. A longitudinal study was carried out into the relation between stress and CVD. A number of people were looked at and put into two categories: one of high-stress level jobs, such as GP's and surgeons, and the other of low-stress level jobs, such as Dermatologists. Of the high-stress level jobs, 11.9% went on to suffer from CVD, compared to 3.2% of those in a low-stress level job. This study suggests that those who suffer from high amounts of stress are more likely to suffer from CVD than those who do not suffer as much stress in their jobs. Because this is a longitudinal study, the findings can be much more relied upon and widely believed. ...read more.


This survey looked at 1000 people, all aged 32 and in various different jobs. The survey found that 15& of those in high-stress level jobs suffered an episode of clinical depression or anxiety during that year, compared to 8% of those in low-stress job. It was also found that women are more prone to depression than men. There are other mental disorders which have been linked to stress, such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). As the name suggests, PTSD takes place after a serious trauma has been suffered, and sever emotional and /or physical abuse has been threatened. Examples of this are a car accident, and a violent personal assault. After the Vietnam War in 1975, PTSD was observed in the war veterans. It has since been observed in rape victims, and victims of chronic stressors, such as poverty and ongoing abuse at the hands of another person. There are many links and relations between stress and illnesses. It is fairly safe to say that where a person suffers from severe stress, chronic or acute, illness is never far behind. ...read more.

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