Stress Management

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  • Created by: Amy
  • Created on: 26-05-12 12:56

Drugs - Benzodiazepines

Benzodiazepines act on the brain. They increase the action of the neurotransmitter GABA. GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter meaning that its role is to reduce the activity of other neurotransmitter pathways throughout the brain. By increasing the inhibitory action of GABA, benzodiazepines produce inhibition of neurotransmitter activity in the brain. There is some evidence that the inhibition of the neurotransmitters noradrenaline and serotonin is particularly important for the anti-anxiety and anti-stress effect of benzodiazepines.

• Benzodiazepines increase GABA

• GABA reduces activity of neurotransmitters – serotonin and noradrenaline

• This reduces anxiety and stress

• Producing feelings of calm

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Strengths:

  • Quick and easy to use
  • Effective - when compared to placebos
  • People are used to taking medication

Weaknesses:

  • Side effects of blurred vision, dizziness and drowsiness
  • Physical dependency (might cause addiction)
  • Withdrawal symptoms of sleep disorders, tremors, increased heart rate and sweating
  • Treat the symptoms but not the underlying cause
  • Ethics (fully informed consent of disturbed people)
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Beta-blockers

This group includes drugs such as Propranolol and Alpenolol. These drugs act directly on the heart and circulatory system of the body. They reduce activation of the cardiovascular system by sympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system. In this way, they directly reduce increase in the heart rate and blood pressure that are associated with stressful situations, and are also used in the management of chronic hypertension (raised blood pressure). Beta-blockers are, therefore, useful in controlling bodily arousal. It is interesting to note that they are sometimes prescribed for musicians and snooker players whose smooth motor-control can be upset by high levels of arousal.

• Blocks the effects of adrenaline and noradrenaline

• This prevents heart rate and blood pressure from increasing

• Used to manage hypertension(extremely high blood pressure)

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Strengths:

  • Quick and easy to use
  • Effective - when compared to placebos
  • People are used to taking medication
  • Rapid action - life saving function of some cases of hypertension
  • No severe side effects as it doesn't get into the brain

Weaknesses:

  • Treats the symptom but not hte underlying cause
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Psychological Methods - SIT

Meichenbaum believed that a person can learn strategies to ‘inoculate’ themselves against stress in their lives just as people can be inoculated against measles.

Conceptualisation:

The person works with a therapist to identify what causes them stress and the key features of stressful encounters such as how they think and behave in the situations identified. (They identify stressor and how they currently cope)

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Skills, training and rehearsal:

The person is shown how to challenge the irrational thoughts that make them feel stressed such as “it will be the end of the world if I mess up my speech in front of all those people”. This is the ‘cognitive’ aspect of the therapy. They are also taught relaxation techniques to help control their bodily arousal.

Also people with social anxiety may need to be taught non-verbal communication skills such as how to make appropriate eye contact with others. These are the behavioural aspects of therapy. Skills training and rehearsal of these skills initially takes place in the safe environment of the therapeutic setting.

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Application:

After sufficient skills training and rehearsal, the person puts it all into the practice in the real world. The therapist and client evaluate progress throughout and engage in more skills training and rehearsal if necessary.

“Can Stressed Teachers Read Accurately?” – Conceptualisation, Skills training and rehearsal, Application

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Evaluation

Strengths:

  • Research support for its effectiveness
  • Empowering - gives the person a sense of control over stressful situations
  • No harmful side effects
  • Deals with the source of the stress - if stress is defined as a mismatch between demands and ability to cope

Weaknesses:

  • Takes time, commitment and money
  • People may be suspicious of therapy (unfamiliar with it)
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