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Silent killer: Increased stress can badly affect immunity

June 27, 2018 0 Comments

Silent killer: Increased stress can badly affect immunity

Stress is a mental status affecting most of us these days. It is a way for the body to react to a threat or a hostile environment. There can be multiple reasons for stress, be it from a happening in life or a trauma. Minor reasons causing stress are the body’s way of motivating us to perform better under pressure. However, if the reasons for stress are big enough and continual, they can lead to physical or autoimmune problems, like celiac disease, psoriasis, Crohn’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis, among others.

Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is a kind of stress caused due to a trauma suffered by a person in the past. The effects can be long-term involving the danger of causing psychosomatic disorders. Dr. Huan Song, lead researcher, University of Iceland, said, “Patients suffering from severe emotional reactions after trauma or other life stressors should seek medical treatment due to the risk of chronicity of these symptoms and thereby further health decline, such as the increased risk of autoimmune disease.”

Microglial activity and suicidal tendency

A 2015 study showed that a person suffering from a major depressive disorder is likely to have enhanced neuroinflammation spewing from rising microglial (microglia being a type of immune cell acting as immune defense in the central nervous system) activity in various parts of the brain.

Dr. Peter Talbot decided to further delve into the study and found that increased microglial activity can lead to suicidal tendencies. His observation was based on the study of 14 patients suffering from various stages of depression as against 13 healthy subjects which acted as control. A PET scan showed that the 14 patients had heightened microglial activity, thus indicating a direct connection between neuroinflammation and suicidal tendencies.

PTSD is a common problem in teens. It primarily originates from factors such as peer pressure, bullying and violence in school. Providing teen PTSD treatment is important before the problem turns into something severe on the lines of autoimmune diseases.

Body’s immune system protects it from infection and diseases. However, increased stress leads to autoimmune diseases, wherein the very foundation of immunity collapses. There is no specific reason behind the autoimmune diseases, but they are genetic in nature and run in the families. Researches have concluded that usually native Americans, Hispanics and black women run a higher risk of becoming resistant to autoimmune diseases.

We all have experienced the linkage between stress and physical pain like headaches and stomachaches. However, there are no specific scientific studies which might co-relate problems originating in the mind and affecting the body as a result.

Stress – a major cause of diseases

A study conducted in Sweden over a period of three decades led to the conclusion that over 100,000 people suffered from diseases originating from stress, such as PTSD, adjustment disorder and acute stress reaction. However, when compared to over a million subjects over the same timeframe, the latter were not diagnosed with any stress-related disease.

Another aspect of the study was that people suffering from stress had a 30-40 percent higher chance to acquire 41 types of autoimmune diseases. Unnur Anna Valdimarsdóttir, one of the lead researchers on the study, said, “We know from previous research that too much stress can disrupt our immune system, but this is the first study that shows the link between PTSD and other stress disorders and increased risk of autoimmune diseases in a large sample of individuals.”

A 2009 study showed that people who experienced two or more traumatic experiences in their childhood, like trauma and neglect, are more likely to suffer from the rheumatic disease as compared to those who did not experience any such childhood trauma. This means that PTSD is a reality and it affects more people than not.

Way to deal with stress, PTSD

Stress and PTSD are a major cause for concern in themselves. As stress level affects a person’s physical health, it only adds fuel to the fire. White River Academy, a dedicated residential treatment center for teenaged boys, treats PTSD and various other disorders. Ignoring problems like PTSD in teens can lead to more complications later in their lives.

Through our social interaction programs, we aim to build the right kind of environment for the adolescents who silently suffer. If you are looking for PTSD treatment for teens or any other mental illnesses, addiction or both, call at our 24/7 helpline or chat online.

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