On World Stress Day, a psychiatrist explains the negative effects that the problem can bring to people’s health and how to deal with it
September 23 is World Stress Day. The date aims to raise awareness of this problem which can harm people’s well-being and quality of life.
Stress is caused by various factors, which can be external or internal, and can trigger symptoms such as apprehension, fatigue, physical and mental restlessness, irritability, difficulty concentrating, among others.
In general, stress is a natural reaction of the organism that occurs when we are faced with a danger or a threat.
Cortisol can be considered a hormone directly related to stress, as it is released in the body to prepare us for situations involving threats or crises.
According to Marcus Zanetti, psychiatrist and Doctor of Science at the USP Faculty of Medicine, stress is “defined as a state of threat to the homeostatic equilibrium of the organism, triggered by various external or internal factors, real or perceived, and which are called stressors ”.
Regarding “stressors”, the doctor explains that there are several in our life, and they can be of a different nature and often unpredictable. “People differ in their ability to handle stressful situations and also in their predisposition to develop mental disorders when faced with an adverse situation.”
Therefore, it is essential that people know the importance of managing stress in order to enjoy well-being. “It is essential to realize that our mind has an automatism and that many people do not understand this natural movement of our mind, letting themselves be carried away by exaggerated worries and distorted beliefs in a non-reflexive way,” he begins.
“Often it is not the situation itself that generates anxiety, but the interpretations of the situation that determine feelings, physiological reactions and behaviors, amplifying the response to stress. Psychotherapy”, adds the doctor, stressing the importance of counting on the help of psychotherapy health workers to cope with stress.
The help of health workers
According to him, psychiatrists and psychologists can help patients in several ways:
“Educate on the stress response process, its associated factors and emotional self-regulation techniques, assess the existence of a mental disorder and guide the appropriate treatment, which may include guidelines aimed at improving lifestyle habits, psychotherapy and , possibly, pharmacological treatment, when indicated “.
When dealing with stress, the individual can develop anxiety and have to deal with an unpleasant emotional state.
“People with low anxiety tend to be more passive, for example. At the other extreme, anxious people may exhibit a disproportionate / exaggerated reaction to stress, which sometimes occurs persistently even in the absence of a stressor or stressor. when it ceased to exist, “explains the psychiatrist.
When stress is not adequately treated, it tends to have negative consequences for the physical health of those affected, favoring the onset of autoimmune, dermatological, gastrointestinal and other diseases.
“Chronic stress tends to evolve into a state of exhaustion or even depression. In addition, it has a very negative impact on the different physiological systems of the body, which can contribute to the development of various health conditions, including autoimmune, dermatological and cardiovascular diseases. , gastrointestinal, chronic pain, metabolic syndrome and cancer “.
Marcus Zanetti warns that stress also damages mental health. “Stress is a non-specific trigger for the worsening of virtually all mental disorders, such as depression, bipolar disorder, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and schizophrenia.”
Tips for dealing with the problem
To cope with this problem, it is essential to maintain healthy lifestyle habits, such as having a balanced diet, exercising and having good sleep hygiene.
In food, it is recommended to prioritize the consumption of vegetables, legumes, mushrooms, grains, nuts, fruits, olive oil, chicken, fish and avoid refined foods, margarine, fried and sweet foods.
In addition to helping to control stress, physical activity is an ally to minimize the impacts it can cause on the body, as, according to the doctor, “it stimulates the production of endorphins and neurotrophins in the brain, improving mood. , exerting positive cardiovascular, digestive and immune effects and improves the hormonal and metabolic response, with positive effects on emotionality and cognition “.