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Posts Tagged ‘maladaptive stress disorder’

By Dr. Rachel Erickson

Millions of you are suffering from stress, be it work related or issues at home. You may feel “tired and wired” or you may suffer so much that you are flat out on your face and can’t function. There are different levels of stress and what symptoms of stress you have tells a lot about how far down the path of Maladaptive Stress Syndrome (MSS) you are, and how far back you have to come to feel good again.

Let’s break it down. First, your body is designed to deal with stress in sequential stages. There’s acute stages and endurance stages and then when your body can’t endure anymore, the final stage of MSS.

The first stage of MSS is 0. This is what your body does every day to regulate your response to various stimuli in your environment. It’s a fine balancing act between hypovigilance and hypervigilance. This is your day to day ebb and flow of mental concentration and motor activity.

A Normal healthy response to stress is MSS-1. You meet a stimulating stressful moment, your body reacts accordingly, the stress goes away, and you go back to feeling normal again. For instance, if you were to get attacked by an angry dog. You would feel superhuman strong, amped up to defend your life, your eyes would dilate so you can see better, your heart would pump faster and your muscles would engorge with blood so you could run away or fight better. Many of you have experienced this kind of stress response. It leaves you feeling hung over and exhausted, but nothing a good night’s rest can’t fix.

Maladaptive Stress Syndrome-2 is characterized as the Suppression Phase. This is when you have an increased tendency to get sick, experience some depression or obsessive compulsiveness, anxiety, lack of appetite, high lipid levels, insulin resistance, diabetes and other chronic degenerative diseases. Adrenal androgens (testosterone) increase which can lead to abnormal hair growth in women.

The third and final stage is the Exhaustion Phase: MSS-3 is when your body can’t keep producing the high amounts of hormones and neurotransmitters it once was because you are flat-out tired and nutrient deficient. Commonly known as “adrenal exhaustion”, I see this in my patients who’ve had 2+ decades of high stress jobs, long term sickness and death of loved ones, or highly stressful long term relationships.

So what to do about all this stress? Let’s be unambiguous about this. The best thing you can do for yourself to deal with life in high-stress times is to eat right and move your body! This can be a difficult challenge especially while you’re stressed, so don’t do it alone. Involve a friend or a family member in your goals, see us at Glow to help you get on a good track with dietary choices and healthy exercise. Get acupuncture and Chinese herbs regularly to calm you down. See Dr. Rachel for stress testing, herbs, and diet and lifestyle counseling to balance out your stressful moments.

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