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Chronic stress: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Chronic stress is the response of the brain to unpleasant events for a prolonged period over which an individual perceives it has no control. It involves an endocrine system response in which occurs a release of corticosteroids. This if continuous for a long time can cause damage to an individual's physical and mental health.



Animals exposed to distressful events over which they have no control respond by releasing of corticosteroids.[1][2] These if prolonged lead to structural changes in their brains. Changes happen to neurons and their synapses in the hippocampus[3] and medial prefrontal cortex[4] These produce impairments in working memory,[5] and spatial memory[5] .

Linked to impairment to medial prefrontal cortex are deficits in the part of the striatum with which it is linked.[6] The circuit between them processes higher level associations that underlie behavioral flexibility and the ability to link changes in behavior with desired outcomes. With impairment of this circuits is a hypertrophy of the brain circuits in the striatum dealing with the sensorimotor processes that underlie habits.[6] As a result, individuals shift from flexible behavior to one dominated by automatic actions.[6] Changes also occur to dopaminergic activity in the prefrontal cortex.[5]

Signs and illnesses

  • upset stomach                     
  • headache
  • backache
  • insomnia
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • anger
  • intense mood swings
  • loss of concentration / poor concentration
  • heightened confusion in mildly stressful situations      
  • inability to complete tasks
  • hypertension[7]
  • hemorrhoids[7]
  • varicose veins[7]
  • suicidal thoughts in some

In severe cases it can lead to panic attacks or a panic disorder. Stress plays a role in triggering or worsening depression and cardiovascular disease and in speeding the progression of HIV/AIDS.[8]


There are a variety of methods to control chronic stress, including exercise, healthy diet, stress management, relaxation techniques, adequate rest, and relaxing hobbies. It has been suggested that magnesium supplements can help.[9]

See also


  1. ^ Sapolsky RM. (1998). Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers: An Updated Guide To Stress, Stress Related Diseases, and Coping. 2nd Rev Ed, W. H. Freeman ISBN 978-0716732105
  2. ^ McEwen BS. (2007). Physiology and neurobiology of stress and adaptation: central role of the brain. Physiol Rev. 87(3):873-904. PMID 17615391
  3. ^ Sousa N, Lukoyanov NV, Madeira MD, Almeida OF, Paula-Barbosa MM. (2000). Reorganization of the morphology of hippocampal neurites and synapses after stress-induced damage correlates with behavioral improvement. Neuroscience.97(2):253-66. PMID 0799757
  4. ^ Radley JJ, Sisti HM, Hao J, Rocher AB, McCall T, Hof PR, McEwen BS, Morrison JH. (2004). Chronic behavioral stress induces apical dendritic reorganization in pyramidal neurons of the medial prefrontal cortex. Neuroscience. 125(1):1-6.PMID 15051139
  5. ^ a b c Mizoguchi K, Yuzurihara M, Ishige A, Sasaki H, Chui DH, Tabira T. (2000). Chronic stress induces impairment of spatial working memory because of prefrontal dopaminergic dysfunction. J Neurosci. 20(4):1568-74. PMID 10662846
  6. ^ a b c Dias-Ferreira E,Sousa JC,Melo I, Morgado P, Mesquita AR, Cerqueira JJ, Costa RM, Sousa N. (2009). Chronic Stress Causes Frontostriatal Reorganization and Affects Decision-Making. Science, 325: 621-655 doi:10.1126/science.1171203
  7. ^ a b c Metcalfe, C; Davey Smith G, Macleod J et al. (March 2003). "Self-reported stress and subsequent hospital admissions as a result of hypertension, varicose veins and haemorrhoids". Journal of Public Health Medicine 25 (1): 62–68. doi:10.1093/pubmed/fdg013. PMID 12669921.  
  8. ^ Cohen S, Janicki-Deverts D, Miller GE (2007). "Psychological stress and disease.". JAMA 298 (14): 1685–7. doi:10.1001/jama.298.14.1685. PMID 17925521.   "Stress Contributes To Range Of Chronic Diseases, Review Shows" (Oct. 10, 2007) [1]
  9. ^ Cernak I, Savic V, Kotur J, Prokic V, Kuljic B, Grbovic D, Veljovic M. (2000). Alterations in magnesium and oxidative status during chronic emotional stress. Magnes Res. 13(1):29-36. PMID 10761188

Further reading

  • 30 Days to Taming Your Stress by Deborah Smith Pegues, (2007), Harvest House Publishers ISBN: 978-0-7369-1835-0

External links

Simple English

Chronic stress is when a person/animal is affected mentally and gets stressed. This pressure(influence) is usually long-lasting and can, in some cases, be ever-lasting. It is long-lasting stress which can lead to illness and mentally messed up.


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