Is stress by itself harmful ?

Discussion in 'Gator Country Health and Fitness' started by Dreamliner, Mar 2, 2012.

  1. Dreamliner
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    Dreamliner Well-Known Member

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    I've posed the question before and can't say that I've gotten an incisive answer. Is stress by itself harmful or is it harmful due to the behaviors that commonly attend stress. In other words, people under stress ...

    ... typically overeat and gain weight.

    ... typically increase caffeine and other stimulants, increase alcohol use, smoke, etc.

    ... typically put exercise aside.

    ... typically deprive themselves of rest and relaxation.

    Discuss ...
  2. cc1ark
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    cc1ark New Member

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    long time lurker, rarely post...

    this topic reminded me of a comic I once saw:

    http://www.buzzfeed.com/donnad/the-only-two-things-you-enjoy-bif

    I'm going to assume you're referring to bad stress (distress) being harmful, though I suppose people sometimes don't handle eustress very well either.

    wikipedia's article on the topic (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stress_(biology)) is actually pretty informative. What I gleam from it is Stress in one form or fashion causes the body to release a series of hormones, nor-epinephrine, and serotonin.
    The serotonin is causes the mood to change, which causes the issues you list.
    So then with that being understood, I think the original question takes on broader scope... is serotonin harmful?
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  3. G8rChuck85
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    G8rChuck85 Moderator VIP Member

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    In my opinion, yes. I had a very stressful job in the 90's and was suffering chest pains at times. The Dr couldn't find anything wrong and when he asked about stress, I knew right away that was it. I changed to a far less stressful job and have been fine since.
  4. G8rChuck85
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    G8rChuck85 Moderator VIP Member

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    Oh, and welcome to the forum cc1ark..We would love to have you join in more often!
  5. Dreamliner
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    Dreamliner Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, guys. And Chuck, your chest pain, I'm assuming it was a stress reaction as opposed to a manifestation of heart disease ? I know there have been times in my life where I was convinced I was checking out ... but checked out A-OK.

    Yes, my blood pressure was also up at the time. And I certainly do realize that's not an altogether wholesome state-of-affairs.
  6. G8rChuck85
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    G8rChuck85 Moderator VIP Member

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    Yep, 100 percent job/stress related. Everything checked out ok at the doctors. He said he had a lot of folks come in thinking they were having heart problems when it was stress. He did say stress was bad for the heart though..hence, the change in jobs:)
  7. Dreamliner
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    Dreamliner Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I can certainly see where stress induces chemical changes which may be harmful in the long run. I suppose I'm intrigued by the tendency to hurry the degeneration along with the various 'coping mechanisms' we adopt.
  8. malscott
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    malscott Premium Member

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  9. Dreamliner
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    Dreamliner Well-Known Member

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    Would it be good to increase high fructose corn syrup intake in times of stress ? :happy:
  10. G8rChuck85
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    G8rChuck85 Moderator VIP Member

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    I think eliminating the stress might prove more beneficial..Let's all meditate now, ommmm :D
  11. el_lagarto
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    el_lagarto Premium Member

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    like most everything, stress in moderation, is good. it invites reflection and change. periods of stress are natural and can be very beneficial. its really just basic biochemistry and we got that big ol frontal lobe that complicates things. it really comes down to how we cope and respond.

    i think you are dead on in assigning blame to the behaviors that many people engage in when faced with stressful situations. they are often self defeating.

    then again, you rarely hear about the positive ways that some people out there handle stress, b/c they just do it, and dont end up a newspaper headline or in a drs office, or 100 pounds overweight, or dead.
  12. G8rChuck85
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    All stress is not created equal. Periods or occasional stress is one thing, 8 or 10 hours of non stop stress day in and day out is quite another.
  13. el_lagarto
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    like most everything, stress in moderation, is good.
    so, i agree.

    but, good vs bad stress still comes down to how you handle it. leaving it behind is one way to handle it.
    the guy who took over your job may have left a mundane boring job that he hated and was stressing him out, and he takes solace in the 'high stress' position you once had.

    it wasnt the JOB that was the problem. it was the combination of the JOB and YOU at that period in time.

    so you did the smart thing and left, and now no more stress. your job stress was an instigator of change in your life. id bet you are doing better in all phases of your life since you left that stress behind, and i bet a million you wish to god you would have left much much much much sooner.

    we allow external stressors to become internal stressors via higher thought. when we are unable to cope and rebound, it manifests physically. at that point, one has to listen to their body. its a great source of truth.

    most of us are deaf to it due to conditioning.

    IMO.
  14. ATL_Gator
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    ATL_Gator Well-Known Member

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    A slightly different take, perhaps.

    ----

    I see what you guys are saying about the choices we take when dealing with stress, and that is ultimately what is causing the problems that we “relate to stress”.. but I wouldn’t necessarily say that those are independent reactions/states. Especially sleep and/or rest deprivation, which can have a profound impact on general health.

    I look at it this way. Let’s say someone suffers from some immune-suppressive disease. From what I understand, they end up dying as a direct infection from the flu, or cold, or pneumonia, or something that is NOT the actual disease that is attacking their immune system. We don’t chalk that up to another case of the flu killing someone, we “give credit” to the underlying cause that put them in the compromised state.

    I see stress as the same way. Stress itself isn’t the physical, direct cause to problems, but we all MUST deal with stress somehow. Stress is the first cause, over eating is the first effect. Over eating is the second cause, weight gain is the second effect.

    Also, if someone is a “stress eater”.. and you convince them to stop eating so much, but don’t deal with the stress itself, wouldn’t you be imparting even more stress to that person’s situation, which could now manifest into other and more numerous coping mechanisms, which this time around doesn’t include eating?
  15. jhenderson251
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    jhenderson251 Premium Member

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    It's my understanding that periods of high stress increase the number of free radicals in the body, thus leading to some breakdown in overall physical health.
  16. Dreamliner
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    Dreamliner Well-Known Member

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    I don't doubt that that's the case.

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