There are three approaches to stress, these are the response-based approach, the stimulus based approach, and the interactive approach. "The first approach treats stress as an Independent variable for study, describing it in terms of the persons response to dist- urbing or noxious environments. The second approach describes stress in terms of the stimulus characteristics of those disturbing or noxious environments and thus treats it as an independent variable for study.
The third ..... ,approach views stress as the reflection of a lack of 'fit' between the person and his envi- onment. (Cox,T. 1978) The human body is made up of the internal environment. This contains cells, tissues, organs, and systems, each making the other one up in that order. A fluid known as extra-cellular fluid covers each cell. This fluid contains three vital substances, these are 1) Nutrients, which are our foods, 2) Gases, which are mainly Oxygen and Carbon Dioxide, and 3) Positively Charged Ions, which are mainly Potassium, and Sodium. When the internal environment is at a general level of functioning of a healthy body we call it Homeostasis.
Stress, however can cause an imbalance in homeostasis. Stress affects the chemical imbalance of potassium and sodium in the body. Physical responses to stress upset homeostasis in the body. The 'General Adaptation Syndrome', which is also known as 'GAS' tells us what happens to the body when stress is taking place. It does not, however, tell us what causes stress. GAS is set in three stages, ".... The first, the alarm reaction, the second, the period of resistance, and the third and final stage, the point of exhaustion and collapse. " (Cox,T. 1978)
GAS is a sympathetic system that acts on catalchelamines, which are also known as stress hormones. Exhaustion occurs when the bodies can no longer handle stress. "The organism has a finite reserve of adapted energy. When depleted, the organism lacks the ability to cope with continued stress, and death may occur. " (Rice,P. L. 1992) Burn out occurs to people who are under continuous stress. Burn out normally occurs to those people who have put a lot of effort into their occupation. It is lead by frustration to lack of awareness of their efforts in the workplace.
More recently burn out has been linked to the home. This is known as domestic burnout. There are three stages to burnout, these are 1) Stress, 2) Strain, and 3)Changes in attitude and behaviour. Stage one, 'Stress', involves an imbalance between resources and demands. Stage two, 'Strain', can lead to feelings of anxiety and fatigue, this is due to the imbalance in stage one. Stage three, 'Changes in attitude and behaviour', leads to emotional detachment, and also physical and emotional exhaustion. Our emotion at a given time depends on our interpretation of the situation, this is known as Cognitive Appraisal.
Illnesses that have stress related conditions include, Diabetes Mellitus, Peptic Ulcers, Cardio Vascular Disease, and Coronary Heart Disease. These illnesses are all studied through a field known as 'Psychoneuroimunology'. It studies the links of stress with diseases. A man known as 'Raab' in 1971 explained coronary Heart Disease through a hypothesis, "..... The second factor is a stress factor: sympathetic-adronomedually activity, which increases oxygen demand,........... Potassium and Magnesium are lost, and Sodium retained. " (Raab. 1971)
Fatty deposits blocking the arteries can form coronary Heart Disease. Stress can cause repeat activity on the heart, and if potassium has been lost, stress hormones may be higher. The individual may be seceptable to cholesterol plaques. Peptic ulcers are also highly recognised in people who suffer from stress. There are not, however directly caused by stress but are related to a virus known as Helicobactor Pylori. This was a suggestion made many years ago though. The ulcers are caused when the body is under stress as blood vessels affect the rate of Hydrochloric acid in the body.
The Hydrochloric acid is used in the human body to digest food. Under stress though too much of the acid is produced and can begin to digest certain systems in the body. Both excess alcohol in the body, and excess allergenic can cause peptic ulcers in the body. The excess of these substances can lead to bleeding in the stomach. The ulcers are recognised more in men than they are in women. Stress, as said earlier starts to break down the body through the internal environment, starting with our cells.
The body is made up of all different cells, all of which are important to our functioning. Our cells help carry foodstuffs around the body, other cells help fight illnesses. Cells known as T-Lymphocytes fight off our illnesses and diseases. T-Lymphocytes are reduced under stress. If our T-Lymphocytes are lowered than our chances to fight those illnesses and diseases are rapidly reduced. Cancer has been recognised to occur in people who are under stress. The relationship here is that if our T Lymphocyte cell count is lowered then our bodies cannot combat the cancerous cells.
This can lead to deterioration of the body, and can lead to death. Stress, however has not been connected with the production of cancerous cells. Stress can also lead to mental illnesses. There are seven important aspects to keep in mind when considering a psychological disorder. These are age, gender, physique, genetic back round, environment, occupation, and even what religion a person believes on. Religion plays a big part in psychological disorders as it can have strong influences on a persons thinking and behaviour.