Research Paper: Psychological Stress Can Result From Many Different

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¶ … Psychological stress can result from many different sources: it can be caused by work responsibilities, educational obligations, interpersonal relationships, and by virtually any other circumstances where the individual must meet the expectations of others or satisfy specific criteria where the failure to do so can result in negative consequences (Probst, 2010). Stress can also be the result of learned patterns from exposure to difficult situations, particularly where current situations trigger memories or learned expectations in the individual (Probst, 2010). Recently, psychological research has connected stress levels to a wide range of physical and medical ailments so directly that psychological stress is considered an important consideration in diagnosing many kinds of medical symptoms, especially those without readily apparent physical causes. For that reason, stress reduction has become an important area of contemporary psychological counselling as well as other aspects of modern life. Many employers now provide stress-management programs (Kelloway & Day, 2005) and hospitals (in particular) incorporate stress-reduction programs into patient care as a means of alleviating the severity of their symptoms and of enhancing their recovery (Archer, 2005).

The Causes and Consequences of Stress

There are myriad potential sources of psychological stress in human life. Typically, the responsibilities associated with work performance and evaluations, performance in school, and many aspects of family and other types of close interpersonal relationships can cause the individual to experience stress (Probst, 2010). Since the return of so many combat veterans from the ongoing war in Afghanistan and continuing U.S. military commitments in Iraq, there has been greatly increased appreciation of the susceptibility of individuals to long-term stress-related consequences of repeated exposure to danger and of witnessing the traumas associated with war, such as in the form of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that plagues a large percentage of combat veterans (Richardson & Rothstein, 2008). In many cases, stress can become incapacitating, especially in the form of PTSD; moreover, stress is a psychological issue that often goes unrecognized because individuals suffering from its consequences either fail to realize that it is the source of their problems or because they experience it as shameful because they believe suffering from its consequences is either a form of weakness or a sign of mental illness (Probst, 2005; Richardson & Rothstein, 2008).

The specific consequences of stress are also very wide-ranging and can include (among other things): anxiety, depression, difficulty dealing with others, decreased productivity at work or academic performance, irritability, digestive problems and loss of appetite, self-destructive behaviors, purposeful social isolation, and insomnia (Probst, 2005; Richardson & Rothstein, 2008; Sewell, 2006). Stress has even been recognized as a specific contributing factor that can exacerbate the severity of many medical problems and other physical ailments… [END OF PREVIEW]

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