Stress and Effects on Brain Research Paper

Download this Research Paper in word format (.doc)

Note: Sample below may appear distorted but all corresponding word document files contain proper formatting

Excerpt from Research Paper:

55). In other words, stress can create a life-long physiological change in and impairment of brain and body functioning. Such recent findings suggest that victims of stress may in fact suffer from a neurological disorder rather than just from a character flaw, mental weakness, or bad luck.

Chronic stress can impact individual perception and thinking in significant ways. Research in cognitive neuropsychology has been particularly helpful in identifying some of these patterns. Psychiatrists at the Dartmouth Medical School have identified certain common styles of thinking present in those who as a result of traumatic stress suffer from chronic life stress (Mueser, Rosenberg, & Rosenberg, 2009, pp. 99-120). These thought patterns, or schemas, shape the individual's perception of the world and have a degree of negative control over their emotions (Mueser, Rosenberg, & Rosenberg, 2009). The problem is that they are inaccurate and destructive thoughts and beliefs. They exacerbate distress rather than alleviate it. For example, such stress-influenced minds have a tendency to catastrophize (worst case scenario), overgeneralize the negative by jumping to conclusions, and think in terms of extremes and absolutes ("the world is all bad" or "I'm a failure since I'm not perfect") (Mueser, Rosenberg & Rosenberg, 2009). They also overestimate the risk of bad things happening, attribute truth to their feelings ("I feel sad, so my life must be hopeless"), inaccurately blame themselves when they are not responsible for something, and ignore the positive by focusing strictly on the negative (Mueser, Rosenberg & Rosenberg, 2009). The person suffering from this kind of stress, therefore, is in the grip of false perceptions and their resulting negative emotions. Their ability to manage life experience in an unstressful way is impaired unless they are able to find ways to change their beliefs and interpretations of the world and of themselves.

Stress has been linked to more serious impairments such as PTSD, depression, somatic disorders, anxiety disorders, and substance abuse. Bremner (2002) argued that these disorders may be considered in relationship to a "common stress-induced neurological deficit" (p. 34). That is to say, stress actually changes the way the brain operates. In even more extreme cases, studies have shown clear connections between stress and the mental disorder of schizophrenia (Lewine, 2005). While most researchers understand that there are genetic predispositions in those who develop schizophrenia, they generally realize that environmental factors combine with this inherited vulnerability to produce the disorder (Lewine, 2005). In other words, stress contributes to the formation and perpetuation of schizophrenia. It effects the person's cognitive appraisal of the environment, which when fused with biological predispositions give rise to serious mental distress and distortions.

Lewine (2005) examined the kinds of stress that research has connected with the development of schizophrenic thought patterns. Such stressors include childhood trauma (e.g., parental loss) or confusing family relations involving hyper-criticism, emotional over-involvement, and hostility. Further, the manifestation of schizophrenia itself is a source of stress owing to the external and uncontrollable nature of hallucinations and the "direct distortions in information processing, affect, and interpersonal relationships" (Lewine, 2005, p. 291). Schizophrenics tend to find social life more threatening than the average person (Lewine, 2005). As a result of this, stress is increased and negatively impacts their rational capacities. Another contributing impact of stress on schizophrenic thinking is social stress and poverty, both of which contribute to demoralization, low self-esteem, alienation, and further life hardship since it creates such things as financial worry (Lewine, 2005). In sum, the extreme case of schizophrenia illustrates how stress can impact thinking and mental processes (even if associated with genetic predispositions) by contributing to distorted interpretations of the environment and cognitive impairment that is stress sensitive and threat-oriented.

Memory is another important area of the mind that stress affects. Neuroscientists have shown that the areas of the brain associated with memory play an important role in the stress response and are sensitive to stress. Bremner (2002) stated, "One important outcome is long-term dysregulation of the brain chemical systems that we need to survive the immediate threat to our lives" (p. 107). The result of stress can cause fragmented memory and dissociation because it affects the hippocampus where memory is controlled (Bremner, 2002). Other studies showed that cortisol released during stress impairs memory, producing the spaced out feeling an individual feels when under[continue]

Cite This Research Paper:

"Stress And Effects On Brain" (2010, June 03) Retrieved December 6, 2016, from

"Stress And Effects On Brain" 03 June 2010. Web.6 December. 2016. <>

"Stress And Effects On Brain", 03 June 2010, Accessed.6 December. 2016,

Other Documents Pertaining To This Topic

  • Stress and Disease

    Stress Each of us has our own share of experiences where we find ourselves unable to cope with normal responses. Sometimes, due to circumstances that push both of our minds and bodies to precisely act on things or to meet expectations, we tend to feel that we almost want to give up. Such example in our daily experiences is what we call stress. Stress is a psychological imbalance, which, if regularly experienced,

  • Stresses in Different Life Stages

    Stress is an unavoidable fact of life, yet, what precisely is stress? It is essentially one of those things that we all have but that we all have difficulty defining and explaining. The one unarguable fact is that we all have it in our lives and, without it, our lives would be much different. If fact, the only way that one's life can be entirely stress free is upon death.

  • Stress Effects Memory in Adults

    The responses will be tabulated into data sheet that exhibit the participants ease of remembering that facts. The coding will produce levels which showing the proportionate ability to remember. The data will then be input in a statistical program to give distributions and this will be subjected to a T-test to assess their significance level at 5%. The decision rule will be such that reject the null hypotheses if probability

  • Stress Management the Stress Emotions Anger and

    Stress Management The Stress Emotions: Anger and Fear Anger I found it interesting that the chapter states that anger is found in all animals (higher animals that are capable of such expressions as I imagine an earthworm does not express anger) and yet offers evidence that anger is not instinctual in nature in humans (the Seville Statement). If anger is a core emotion, then it is probably experienced to some degree in all

  • Stress Cortisol Secretion in Any

    Current training paradigms have been found to create to relationship between traditional handgun training, for example, and the necessity of using handguns in the line of duty itself. Indeed, the authors provide excellent literature support for the main focus of the work, which is to emphasize the general lack of adequate and realistic on-the-job training for police officers and military personnel. The literature review futhermore emphasize the effect of unusual

  • Stress Statement of Authorship I Assert That

    Stress Statement of Authorship: I assert that this material was written by me, and that any external sources consulted are properly cited and listed in the bibliography. University students may be under high levels of stress due to their workloads and conflicting pressures from friends, family, and job. Research points to a set of proven stress reduction techniques that can be incorporated into any student's daily life. Techniques can be varied, depending

  • Stress What Does Stress Actually

    This may be because the environment may be either polluted, or too noisy, or too crowded, or there may be too much crowding, or it may be too cold, or too warm. The weather too plays an important part in creating stress in an individual, especially when the individual happens to be already stressed due to some reason or the other. Another main source of stress may be physiological, like

Read Full Research Paper
Copyright 2016 . All Rights Reserved