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Stress everyday

Stress is part of everyday life. Once in a while, everyone gets stressed over work, their school exams and assignments, relationships and even the seemingly mundane things like getting into a long line at the ATM vestibule only to find out that the machine ran out of money when it’s the person’s turn to use it. But stress is not always bad. Research says that stress has both positive and negative outcomes (Morris and Maisto, 2002, p. 478). For instance, getting being anxious about a deadline may actually prompt to work diligently and beat the deadline.

However, if there is too much stress and the individual is unable to snap out of it, so to speak, it may toil on the individual – physically and psychologically. It has been said that people put in a stressful situation have actually emerged as transformed individuals (p. 478). The deal with stress is how to cope with it. To cope is to “make cognitive and behavioral efforts” to handle stress (p. 488). There are two ways of coping- direct coping and defensive coping (p. 488). Direct coping is when an individual deliberately does something to face whatever is stressing him/ her.

For example, when one is threatened, the individual may choose to do away with the threat by attacking it or escaping it. Direct coping is construed as dealing with the stress as straightforward as possible, focusing on the issue at hand. On the other hand, defensive coping is when an individual tries to deceive himself about the cause of the stress, convincing themselves that they are not really stressed out (p. 488). Defensive coping tends to be focus on one’s emotions and state of mind, rather than solving the problem or cause of stress.

Denial and regression are examples of defensive coping (p. 488). Calming down is a way of coping. It has been proven that doing exercise is a stress-buster as engaging in aerobic exercise may lower heart rate, thus making the individual react less to stress (p. 501). There are also relaxation techniques like doing yoga or meditation that may ameliorate stress. Reaching out to others in times of stress is also a great stress buster. It also helps to have solid foundation support system foster healthier behaviors. But perhaps the best stress buster is still laughter.

Health psychologists concur that humor is a stress-relieving (p. 503). Watching comic films, sharing joke with others is a sure way to beat stress. Dissociative disorder and schizophrenic disorders are two different psychological disorders. However, people usually confuse schizophrenic disorders as dissociative due to the belief that schizophrenic disorders refer to split personality. Schizophrenic comes from the Greek schizo, which means “to split” (Morris and Maisto, 2002, p. 541). But the split in schizophrenia disorders actually refer to the individual’s thoughts and not the personality.

People suffering from this type of disorder have strange behaviors, inappropriate emotions and tangled thoughts (p. 541). They are out of touch of reality. They usually have hallucinations and delusions (p. 541). They have a world of their own, to put it bluntly. Unless they are treated medically, people with schizophrenic disorders will not be able to live a normal life. Studies have found that schizophrenic disorders may be due to the excessive amount of the neurotransmitter dopamine located in the central nervous system (p. 543). On the other hand, dissociative disorders are said to the most baffling mental disorders.

In such cases, some parts of an individual’s personality is separated from the rest and to make matters worse, the individual cannot seem to get the pieces back together (p. 543). Memory loss is always present in dissociative disorders, resulting in identity change. Dissociative amnesia is an example of dissociative disorder, meaning some memories are loss. Then, there is also dissociative identity disorder, popularly known as multiple personality (p. 531). While biological factors may play in dissociative disorders, researchers are still confounded as to what may also cause these disorders.

There are three perspectives on psychological disorders- societal, individual and mental- health professional (Morris and Maisto, 2002, p. 514). Each has different standards to draw the line between normal and abnormal behavior. For instance, in societal viewpoint, normal behavior should be consistent with the present social order (p. 514). This means for an individual’s behavior to be considered normal by society, the person must be able to conform to the society’s norms and expectations, to play by the rule of society.

The individual criterion, on the other hand, refers to the person’s well-being, his sense of happiness and satisfaction of needs (p. 514). This is subjective and alludes to the individual’s personal welfare and interest. Sometimes, it may be that the individual and society’s views are in discord. This is where the stance of mental-health professional comes in handy. Professionals defined abnormal behavior as “either maladaptive life functioning or serious personal discomfort or both” (p. 515).

This can be taken to mean that a sound personality and behavior, a normal behavior is one that meshes with both the society and individual perspectives. An individual that is able to show normal growth and development (based on clinical and psychological judgments), deals with reality and stress, and is able to function accordingly with the environment has normal behavior. However, there they may be instances where the line separating normal from abnormal becomes subjective. This just goes to show that abnormality is not always defined the same way. It is relative. Some psychological disorders happen due to physiological malfunctions.

However, research may also show that some disorders occur due to learning maladaptive ways, meaning they are learned and thus be unlearned (p. 517). There is also another perspective that some people are inclined to develop psychological disorders, inferring that they are predisposed to develop such disorders. Psychotherapy is used to treat mental disorders using psychological techniques. Some people do not seek treatment because they fear that psychotherapy is simply bogus, that what an individual does is sit on a chair, recount dreams and all. But the truth is, psychotherapy takes many forms.

There are various types of therapies –insight therapies, behavior therapies, cognitive therapies, and group therapies (Morris and Maisto, 2002, p. 556-568). The effectiveness of psychotherapy is always questioned but various studies have proven, time and again, that undergoing psychotherapy helps (p. 569). Therapy helps roughly two-thirds of patients who undergo it (p. 569). And this is better than doing nothing, letting the patient suffer. What is important to note is that psychotherapy offers an explanation of the disorder and understanding is always the first step in solving a problem.

Acknowledging that a problem exists leads the individual to address it, to cope with it. There are specific therapies for specific problems and selecting the best mode of treatment is the second step. For some, it may be counseling, for others, it maybe a combination of medicine and counseling. It is important to understand how a specific therapy goes to be able to discern what works best. Reference Morris, C. & Maisto, A. (2002). Psychology an introduction 11th ed. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.

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