Acute and chronic stress

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Publication details

Gruner, TM 2006, 'Acute and chronic stress', Journal of Complementary Medicine, vol. 5, no. 6, pp. 12-25.


Stress triggers fight/flight response with physiological changes including: – upregulation of heart rate, BP, breathing, glycogenolysis and gluconeogenesis, cytokine production, immune response, and water and sodium retention – downregulation of digestion, GnRH, GH, LH and TSH • Chronic stress (allostatic load) on the body leads to: – lack of hormonal inhibition through negative feedback – higher cortisol levels (with depletion in later stages) – higher disease burden • Stress-related health problems range from addictions, anxiety, depression, panic attacks, sleep disorders, impairment of cognitive function and memory, heart disease, obesity, homonal disturbances, inflammation, auto-immune disorders, chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia to digestive disorders • Stress management includes coping mechanisms such as plenty of good sleep, exercise, relaxation, wholesome diet and social support • Therapies include CBT, physical therapies, nutritional and herbal medicine and miscellaneous therapies, such as art, music and light

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