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Stress In The Brain Essay

947 words - 4 pages

Stress is one of the leading causes of health problems today. It can lead to issues such as ulcers, headaches, chest pain or rapid heartbeat, changes in eating, and/or moodiness (Helpguide. 2013). Not only does it affect your body physically but also mentally, it has been proven that stress can in fact cause damage to the brain. The damage caused can reach a point where it has become irreversible. Stress causes severe problems in the brain relating to memory and the ability to learn, if continued it can lead to permanent brain damage.

Stress can be caused by certain things called stressors. Stressors are not necessarily considered negative but are anything that puts high demands or forces on a person (Helpguide. 2013). These can be things such as school, work, housework, or practicing for a sports team or club. Those are only considered external stressors. External stressors happen outside of the body; there are also internal stressors. Internal stressors happen inside of the body. They can relate to self-condemnation, lack of assertiveness, or perfectionism (Helpguide. 2013). When you get into an argument, busy schedule, or surprise exam your body responds as though you were in a life-or-death situation (Helpguide. 2013). If you are constantly stressed it is and dealing with these responsibilities your emergency stress response may always remain "on". This means your body is constantly responding stress; the more your body's stress system is activated the harder it is to shut it off (Helpguide. 2013).

The smallest stressors like having a pop quiz can be considered too much for the human body, especially if you're constantly having them throughout the week. Some people are able to deal with stress on a daily and receive a thrill from it. Other people are not so lucky and the smallest amount of stress, like dropping your phone, could cause the symptoms previously stated. It all depends on the type of person you are and how well your body can adjust to these things.

The excessive amount of stress hormones affects the way the brain functions, especially memory (The Franklin Institute, 2004.). Stress increases the amount of cortisol, also known as hydrocortisone. This is a steroid hormone produced by the adrenal cortex. It affects the brain from laying down new memory (The Franklin Institute, 2004.). It also keeps the brain from being able to access memory you have had stored. The increase of stress can also affect the hippocampus, the part of the limbic brain is central to learning and memory (The Franklin Institute, 2004.). When you become stressed or feel threatened your adrenal glands automatically reduce adrenaline. If the threat or cause of stress continues to proceed the adrenal glands begin to produce cortisol; this remains in the brain much longer than adrenaline, and...

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