Stress is in all areas of life, and is focused in three areas; time, environment, and liability. It can be used as either a noun or a verb, and the effect on the body are both positive, and negative. When discussing stress in an emergency services role, it has the potential to interfere with the ability to function in a prescribed professional role.
Acute stress activates a part of the brain called the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrena, or (HPA) system. Breathing will become rapid, and the spleen will discharge red and white blood cells, to support the increased oxygen flow throughout the body, thus readying the body for the event. These effects occur in a critical incident event, and can cause the emotional power sufficient to overwhelm a person's or group's ability to cope with a situation. Stressful events included, suicide (internally/externally), line of duty death, serious line of duty injury, disaster/multiple casualty incident, killing or wounding of someone, significant events involving children, dealing with relatives of known victims, prolonged incidents especially with loss, threats to the agency and/or its personnel, and excessive media interest in a significant event.
The response and reaction phase, when one is uncertain of event or disaster scale, catecholamines are released, and suppress activities of the brain associated with short-term memory, concentration, and rational thought. This “adrenaline rush” allows the person to react quickly, but also interferes with the ability to handle social or intellectual behaviors. Fluids are diverted from the mouth causing dryness and difficulty in speaking. In addition, stress can cause spasms of the throat muscles, making it difficult to swallow during this time.
The confrontation effect or phase, steroid hormones reduce activity in parts of the immune system, (including important white blood cells) these immune-boosting cells are sent where an injury is most...