The Link Between Psychological Stressors and Overall Health Essay

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Existence of distinct links between psychological stressors and a persons’ overall health have been proven through various objective studies. The degree of the stress response can also be directly linked to the severity of its effects. Specific research indicates that stress is related to increased risk of improper immune system functioning, liver disease, and coronary artery disease. When exposed to environmental threats, the body’s immune system carries out dynamic processes through the secretion of various chemicals and production of various kinds of cells, to maintain homeostasis. Whether the stressor is acute or chronic, research now indicates that psychological stress has a strong connection to immune system functioning,…show more content…
In addition to being susceptible to certain diseases, other researchers have discovered that “…extended stress duration and possibly diminished restorative processes have effects that mimic, exacerbate, and sometimes accelerate the effects of aging on immunity” (Hawkley, & Cacioppo, 2003). Researchers Hawkley and Cacioppo studied this effect through the use of behaviorally “slow” and “fast” laboratory mice. After exposing the two different types of mice to stressful situations, they discovered that the “slow” mice exhibited higher amounts of anxiety and “…faster age-related immune declines than did the “fast” mice” (Hawkley, & Cacioppo, 2003). Therefore, this particular study confirms the correlation between diminished immune system functioning as a result of age and stress. It also supports the idea that stress can exacerbate the declined function of the immune system. In addition to the autonomic and neuroendocrine pathways connecting psychological stress and the immune system, similar pathways exist in organs of the body such as the liver. Pathways that connect pathophysiological interactions of stress with the liver can be divided into two major subdivisions: HPA axis and autonomic nervous system. According to Chida and his research team, “…autonomic nervous connection between the brain and the liver reportedly compromises the efferent sympathetic/adrenomedullary system and
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