Given the demands of modern life, stress is something we’ll all experience at some point, largely because of demands placed on us by work, loved ones, or unexpected life changes. But even though stress is commonly thought of as a bad thing, it actually serves a practical purpose. Doctors and scientists refer to the physiological results of stress as the “fight-or-flight response.” It’s intended to protect you by giving your body the shot of energy it needs to survive a threatening situation. The problem is that what’s often triggering that response today isn’t extreme danger but basic work or family-related stresses. And what’s more, because these stresses are often prolonged rather than short-lived, a patient’s fight-or-flight response may be stuck in the “on” position.
Why is this bad for you? For two reasons. First, because stress causes the body to release adrenaline, which raises the heart rate and elevates blood pressure, both of which can put unnecessary strain on the body when they remain at high levels. Second, because stress also triggers the release of cortisol, a hormone that affects the immune system, the digestive system, the reproductive system, and even the growth process. In moments of extreme danger, the body can benefit from alterations in these areas, but prolonged stress can put patients at risk of major health problems, including:
- Heart disease
- Digestive problems
- Memory loss
- Skin conditions
The good news is that it is possible to curb your feelings of stress, even if you can’t do anything about the demands in your life. The Mayo Clinic cites various relaxation techniques as effective means for solving problems with stress. That’s because relaxation techniques like meditation, tai chi, yoga, and more help you slow down, regulate your breathing, and focus on the here and now instead of problems waiting for you in your future. Physical activities like taking a walk outside or playing sports can also help.
Relaxation techniques aren’t the only way that you can combat stress, though. Therapy is another major component. At Dr. Michael Madow’s office in Henderson, we work with our patients to help them discover what’s causing their stress. Once a patient has learned about the cause, we can work with him or her to develop solutions for avoiding or overcoming these stress triggers. Sometimes it’s as simple as stepping away from the desk from time to time at work, or in other cases it might be staying away from the news. In cases where avoiding stress isn’t possible, we can discuss methods for altering one’s response to it, either through relaxation techniques or some other method.
Is stress keeping you from living a healthy, happy life? To find out how Dr. Madow can help you overcome your problem, call our Henderson or Las Vegas office today to schedule an appointment. During a visit with Dr. Madow, he can get to know more about you and your specific situation. Every day, we’re helping patients from Las Vegas, Summerlin, and Boulder City and beyond find ways of coping with and overcoming what’s keeping them from a healthy, normal lifestyle.
Henderson psychiatrist Dr. Michael Madow provides comprehensive psychotherapeutic and psychopharmacological services for patients in Henderson, Las Vegas, Summerlin, and Boulder City.
Dr. Madow’s website is intended for informational and educational purposes only. For a diagnosis, please call our Henderson or Las Vegas office to schedule a consultation visit with Dr. Madow. A diagnosis can only be made under the care of a licensed professional.