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Stress. Babatunde Idowu Ogundipe M.D. M.P.H. Washington DC VA Medical Center. Stress: Definition. There are several definitions (here are 3): (1) Brains response to any demand. (2) State of disharmony, or threatened homeostasis.

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BabatundeIdowuOgundipe M.D. M.P.H.

Washington DC VA Medical Center

stress definition
Stress: Definition
  • There are several definitions (here are 3):
  • (1) Brains response to any demand.
  • (2) State of disharmony, or threatened homeostasis.
  • This comes from fact that living organisms survive by maintaining immensely complex dynamic and harmonious equilibrium(homeostasis), that is constantly challenged or threatened by intrinsic or extrinsic disturbing forces or stressors.
  • (3) The mutual actions of forces that take place across any section of the body. Hans Selye.

physical and behavioral changes associated with stress
Physical and Behavioral Changes Associated with Stress
  • Behavioral Changes:
  • Acute facilitation of adaptive and inhibition of nonadaptive neural pathways.
  • Increased arousal , alertness.
  • Increased cognition, vigilance, and focused attention.
  • Suppression of feeding behavior.
  • Suppression of reproductive behavior.
  • Containment of the stress response.
physical and behavioral changes associated with stress1
Physical and Behavioral Changes Associated with Stress
  • Physical Changes:
  • Adaptive redirection of energy.
  • Oxygen and nutrients directed to the central nervous system and stressed body site(s).
  • Altered cardiovascular tone, increased blood pressure and heart rate.
  • Increased respiratory rate.
  • Increased gluconeogenesis and lipolysis.
  • Detoxification from toxic products.
  • Inhibition of growth and reproductive systems.
  • Containment of the stress response.
  • Containment of the inflammatory/immune response.
physiology pathophysiology stress response
Physiology/pathophysiology Stress Response
  • We explain the Stress response with The General Adaptation Response.
  • It contains 2 principal components:
  • (1) The Corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH).
  • (2)The locus ceruleus-norepinephrine (LC-NE)/autonomic (sympathetic) nervous systems.

disorders associated with dysregulation of the stress system
Disorders Associated With Dysregulation of the Stress System:

Increased Stress System Activity

Decreased Stress System Activity

Atypical depression

Cushing’s syndrome

Seasonal depression

Chronic fatigue syndrome


Obesity(hyposerotonergic forms)

Posttraumatic stress disorder

Nicotine withdrawal

Vulnerability to Inflammatory disease (Lewis rat)

  • Anorexia Nervosa
  • Melancholic Depression
  • Panic Disorder
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Chronic active alcoholism
  • Alcohol & Narcotic withdrawal
  • Chronic excessive exercise
  • Malnutrition
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Premenstrual tension syndrome
  • Vulnerability to addiction (rats)
stress and our overall health
Stress and our Overall Health
  • Sources of stress include:
  • (1) Routine Stress.
  • (2) Sudden negative change.
  • (3) Traumatic Stress
  • The body responds to each type of stress in similar ways but different people may feel it in different ways.

  • Chrousos, G. Gold, P.W. The Concepts of Stress and Stress System Disorders. Overview of Physical and Behavioral Homeostasis. (1992) JAMA. March 4; vol 267. No.9: 1244-1252.
  • Mind/Body Health: Stress - American Psychological Association. Available at