There is seldom a day that goes by without some stress related article appearing in the media:
Role of stress in dementia investigated By Michelle Roberts Health editor, BBC news online (26 June 2012) – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-18577326
Stressed men drawn to heavy women By Nick Crumpton BBC News (9 August 2012) – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-19180983
Bad news stories ‘alter women’s stress response’ By James Gallagher Health and science reporter, BBC News (11 October 2012) – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-19899317
Reality is the leading cause of stress among those in touch with it (Lily Tomlin) – and the reality is that we live in stressful times. The “harsh winds of fiscal restraint”, “the economic downturn”, “budget cuts & cost reductions’, “low job satisfaction & high job insecurity”, “redundancies & a demoralised workforce” to name but a few economic examples of a chronic and significant source of stress.
In her article “A new take on psychoneuroimmunology – Research pointing to a circuit linking the immune system and brain connects illness, stress, mood and thought in a whole new way (http://www.apa.org/monitor/dec01/anewtake.aspx), Beth Azar details:
“For more than a decade, researchers have known that behavioural and psychological events can influence the immune system. But now new research shows that the immune system sends signals to the brain “that potently alter neural activity and thereby alter everything that flows from neural activity, mainly behaviour, thought and mood,” said Maier, professor of psychology at the University of Colorado. In a real, true sense, stress makes you physically sick,” explained Maier. “In addition, many of the changes over time in mood and cognition from day to day are driven by events in the immune system of which we are unaware. Stress makes you sick. Stress and infection activate overlapping neural circuits that critically involve interleukin-1 as a mediator; the implications of this shared neural loop are that stress and infection sensitize the body’s reaction to the other. Clinical studies have also associated cytokines with cognitive impairments. Evidence for connecting depression with the sickness/stress circuitry comes from studies in animals and humans. For example, studies of patients receiving interleukin-1 to fight cancer found that they developed severe depression and, vice versa, people with depression have elevated cytokine levels”
At LPP, focusing on such research helps us to live up to one of our core values – to provide evidence-based interventions. Not only do we want to know that our interventions work, we also want to understand how and why they work. As a result, we are able to make a meaningful difference in helping people to better understand and manage the impact of stress on their health and well-being.