Question 1: How does stress affect physical health?
Stress can have a significant impact on physical health, potentially leading to various negative health outcomes. Chronic stress has been associated with increased risk of developing or exacerbating conditions such as cardiovascular diseases, including hypertension and heart disease, as well as immune system dysregulation, resulting in greater susceptibility to infections and slower wound healing (Cohen, Janicki-Deverts, & Miller, 2007). Stress can also contribute to the development of chronic pain conditions, such as tension headaches and fibromyalgia (McEwen, 2001). Numerous studies have correlated the impact of stress on the body, with increased levels of stress hormones and pro-inflammatory markers, which further contribute to the negative effects on physical health (Epel et al., 2004; Kiecolt-Glaser et al., 2003). Therefore, it is evident that stress can have a detrimental effect on physical health, leading to an increased risk of developing various health conditions.
Cohen, S., Janicki-Deverts, D., & Miller, G. E. (2007). Psychological stress and disease. JAMA, 298(14), 1685-1687. doi: 10.1001/jama.298.14.1685
Epel, E. S., Blackburn, E. H., Lin, J., Dhabhar, F. S., Adler, N. E., Morrow, J. D., & Cawthon, R. M. (2004). Accelerated telomere shortening in response to life stress. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 101(49), 17312-17315. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0407162101
Kiecolt-Glaser, J. K., Preacher, K. J., MacCallum, R. C., Atkinson, C., Malarkey, W. B., & Glaser, R. (2003). Chronic stress and age-related increases in the proinflammatory cytokine IL-6. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 100(15), 9090-9095. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1531903100
Question 2: What are the psychological effects of experiencing a traumatic event?
Experiencing a traumatic event can lead to a range of psychological effects, including but not limited to posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, and substance abuse disorders. Individuals who have experienced trauma may develop intrusive thoughts, nightmares, or flashbacks related to the traumatic event (Bryant & Guthrie, 2007). They may also exhibit avoidance behavior, trying to avoid reminders of the trauma. This can lead to difficulties in various areas of life, including work, relationships, and social interactions. Trauma survivors are at a higher risk of developing comorbid psychological disorders, such as depression and anxiety (Breslau, Chilcoat, Kessler, & Davis, 1999). Substance abuse disorders are also common among trauma survivors as a means of coping with the distressing symptoms associated with the trauma (Jacobson, Southwick, & Kosten, 2001). Therefore, it is crucial to recognize and address the psychological effects of trauma to ensure appropriate support and treatment for individuals affected by traumatic events.
Breslau, N., Chilcoat, H. D., Kessler, R. C., & Davis, G. C. (1999). Previous exposure to trauma and PTSD effects of subsequent trauma: Results from the Detroit Area Survey of Trauma. American Journal of Psychiatry, 156(6), 902-907. doi: 10.1176/ajp.156.6.902
Bryant, R. A., & Guthrie, R. M. (2007). Maladaptive self-appraisals before trauma exposure predict posttraumatic stress disorder. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 75(5), 812-815. doi: 10.1037/0022-006X.75.5.812
Jacobson, L. H., Southwick, S. M., & Kosten, T. R. (2001). Substance use disorders in patients with posttraumatic stress disorder: A review of the literature. American Journal of Psychiatry, 158(8), 1184-1190. doi: 10.1176/appi.ajp.158.8.1184