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Is a stressful lifestyle a habit as harmful to the body as a long term substance abuse?

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Introduction

Is a stressful lifestyle a habit as harmful to the body as a long term substance abuse? The arousal level can be thought of as how much capacity you have available to work with. The concept of arousal relates to the activities of the ANS, this is also known as the Automatic Nervous System. The automatic nervous system or the ANS is a network of unmediated nerve fibres, which regulates internal systems such as the body temperature, heart rate and blood pressure. The function of the sympathetic division is concerned with states which are highly activated and preceded for action, while the parasympathetic division is concerned with states which are quiet and restorative. Activation of the sympathetic division of the automatic nervous system is often given the general term of arousal. Psychological interest in arousal has tended to centre on the relationship between physiologically aroused condition, and the experience of emotions. Periods of high physiological activity happen when we take vigorous exercise are accompanied by high levels of adrenaline and by all the other symptoms of the generalised arousal state. However aroused states also accompany the emotional states of fear and anger. ...read more.

Middle

Many illnesses are believed to be related to stress, however the cardiovascular system and the immune system functioning suffer a great deal. Research studies have suggested that there is a link between long-term stress and minor illnesses, however it can not always be certain that it is stress itself which is causing the effect. Krantz et al (1991) conducted another study looking at the relationship between stress and cardiovascular disorders. The study's aim was to investigate the extent to which mental stress could be shown to increase myocardial ischemia, and if patients with coronary artery disease reacted differently to individuals with no cardiovascular problems. 39 patients and 12 controls were studied. The participants were asked to perform three mental tasks 1. Arithmetic task. 2. Stroop task (blue red) 3. Tasks were they stimulated public speaking. Physiological measurements were taken such as blood pressure and whether the contractions of blood vessels around the heart were low, medium, or high. The findings were that the cardiovascular patients demonstrated the greatest myocardial ischemia during the mental task, and also had highest increases in blood pressure. The control participants showed lowest levels of myocardial ischemia and blood pressure increase whilst performing tasks. ...read more.

Conclusion

Regular contact with healthcare professionals improves health and well being and keeps you in contact with other people motivated towards change. While on methadone many remain physically dependent on it to keep withdrawal symptoms down. It can also lead to death if excess amount is taken. Employers cannot by law discriminate against you, but they may not be impressed to find you are "addicted to methadone". Methadone is a very long term commitment. As some people stay on methadone for decades, some forever. Trying to avoid certain situations, such as going out with friends who go to the pub regular, or being with certain friends that smoke will be good for you as this may lead to triggering off craving. Therefore controlling the environment which you are in gives you self control of the situation and will power. However this strategy may lead you back to substance abuse as you may feel alone or left out. Cardwell, M & Flanagan, C. (2005). Psychology AS, the complete companion. Cheltenham: Croatia. Yerkes, R.M. & Dodson, J.D. (1908). The Relationship of Strength of Stimulus to Rapidity of Habit Formation. Journal of Comparative Neurology and Psychology., 18, 459-482. Anderson, J.R. (2000). Cognitive psychology and its implications. 5th Ed. New York: Worth. ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 Giselle Lindo ...read more.

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