Stress and Depression
Stress and Depression
Stress and depression may both be influenced by medical conditions and life events. They share the same behavioral symptoms such as decreased or increased eating, social isolation, potential drug abuse, and sleep disturbances. Stress and depression may lead to feelings of hopelessness and helplessness. There exists a connection between the two. For instance, struggling with unending stress increases the possibility of depression. Depression lowers the capability of coping with daily challenges, which may result in stress. Unrelenting stress leads to increased degrees of biochemicals that cause medical conditions such as depression (Contrada, 2011).
There are factors of stress response that may cause depression. Anxiety is a way of responding to stress which when prolonged causes depression among individuals. In addition, a negative stress response such as overworking drains the immune system, therefore, causing depression.
Depression causes the activation of the inflammatory immune system that, in turn, aggravate neurotransmitter and neuroendocrine alterations, most of which are the same as those aggravated by psychological or physical stressors (Contrada, 2011). They affect cytokines that regulate the role of the immune system may affect the central nervous system and cause changes in neuro-behavioral functions.
There are a number of similarities and differences between acute stress disorders (ASD) and posttraumatic stress disorder (PSTD). PSTD is an emotional stress triggered by trauma. ASD occurs when trauma persists for at least 2 days to some weeks and involves lack of concentration or even panic attacks. PTSD is attached to a biological element that causes fear and may happen to people that experience threatening events. People suffer from unusual stress hormone levels. This may lead to later stress of the victim (Contrada, 2011).
Symptoms of PSTD are wide. For a military worker, they may include feelings of depression, worry, or strong guilt especially after or during wars.
Techniques of preventing PSTD include assessing response to stress of the victims and relaxation techniques to lower the stress response. Assessing response to stress helps in bringing the body back into balance (Contrada, 2011). The relaxation technique helps in preventing health consequences related to stress and depression.
Social context has influence on the development of strategies of managing stress. Interactions with peers and institutions within a culture involve knowledge and experiences that influence the strategies that individuals develop to cope with stress.
An appropriate example is the theory by Bandura that holds that people learn from each other through the processes of observation, modeling, and imitating (Bandura, 2002). Through the process of learning, people learn how to respond to specific events that help them cope in stressful times. They choose activities that lower their chances of being depressed.
Cultures affect stress and coping processes in individuals as they shape the environment and people. They shape the types of stressors and influence appraisal of coping (Bandura, 2002). Culture offers institutions and systems of helping people cope with stress. Different cultures have different ways of mechanisms of coping with stress. For instance, in the Mexican culture, there are institutions established by the State to help individuals who are stressed and depressed.
There are a number of ways of stress management techniques ranging from simple to complex techniques depending on the level of stress or depression that an individual is experiencing (American Heart Association (2011). One of the most effective strategies of managing stress is increased social activities. These range from meeting friends and going out to activities such as involving in recreational activities.
The best way to evaluate the effectiveness of this technique is keeping a timetable or schedule for different social activities.
There are numerous benefits for providing multiple techniques of managing stress to victims of stress. These include ensuring a better immune function, promoting one’s energy, less physical complaints and illnesses, more feelings of relaxation, better sleep and digestion, calmer mood, and promote positive attitudes in victims (American Heart Association (2011). In simple terms, multiple techniques transform the negativities of stress to positive ones.
There are barriers to effective stress management. One has to do with lack of willingness of the individual to manage stress. If this is the case, then stress management will not be effectual. Another obstacle is applying the inappropriate technique to a certain form of stress. There is no way that this will be effective.
American Heart Association. (2011). What is stress management? Retrieved from http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/StressManagement/FightStressWithHealthyHabits/What-Is-Stress-Management_UCM_321076_Article.jsp.
Bandura, A. (2002). Social learning theory. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
Contrada, R. J. (2011). Stress, adaptation, and health. In R. J. Contrada & Baum (Eds.), The handbook of stress science: Biology, psychology, and health (New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company.