Mankind’s quest to conquer and create allowed us to evolve from primitive beings into sophisticated humans. Unfortunately, it has also led to an increasing level of stress in our lives by allowing us to move and think faster. Images of “success” generated through media cause many people to strive for a self-image that compares better to a superhero. Quintessential I think that we as a society experience a lot more stress than for example in the 1950s.
Stress is a natural response that allows us to mobilize energy reserves in order to defend our life. This is called a “fight or flight response”. It’s a physiological response that was designed to help us out in emergency situations like, for example, attacks from wild animals or famines. It was designed as a short-term response as it interferes with our otherwise well-maintained physiological balance.
It is important to understand that the body does not distinguish between what causes stress. What this means is that an attack from an animal essentially causes the same physiological response as repeated deadlines or too much coffee. It’s all about cortisol, our beloved stress hormone. Long-term stress exposure can cause an array of health problems because it interferes with basically every vital function in our body.
Studies show that long-term activation of stress symptoms, triggered by the release of hormones and brain chemicals, can have a hazardous, even lethal effect on your body and brain. Stress causes a multitude of problems. It makes you more vulnerable to infections by inhibiting the immune system. Stress can make it difficult to conceive a baby because it inhibits fertility in both sexes. In children, it can interfere with growth and cause allergies and behavioral problems. If parents experience a lot of stress before and around conception children are likely to be born with imbalanced hormone levels leading to a weak constitution, allergies, behavioral problems, and the inability to properly handle stress as an adult Stress is a contributor to very serious physical and psychological conditions, including:
- heart disease
- anorexia nervosa
- substance abuse
- irritable bowel syndrome
- memory loss
Constant stress will lead to physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion, and eventually, cause burnout. Often individuals feel overwhelmed and are unable to meet constant demands. Burnout reduces productivity, depletes your energy, and leaves you with an increasing feeling of hopelessness, powerlessness, cynicism, and resentment. Often individuals start to feel unable to properly fulfill their role in family-, social-, and/or work life. This unhappiness can eventually threaten your job, relationships, and certainly your health. Because burnout develops gradually it is often difficult to recognize it early or to get the momentum going to stir against it. The earlier you recognize the symptoms of stress and address them, the better chance you have of avoiding burnout.
For long-term results, we find that balancing nutritional factors, neurotransmitters, endocrine hormones, and lifestyle changes are what lead to permanent success. Dr. Schwerte specializes in endocrine- and neurotransmitter re-balancing through highly innovative saliva testing, amino acid therapy, and acupuncture. Neurotransmitters are messenger chemicals that determine how we feel. Serotonin, for example, is our primary defense against both depression and anxiety and is a vital messenger that promotes sleep. Deficiency is often caused by stress and wrong nutrition.
– Uninterested in relying on Western medication to ease my anxiety, I sought out an alternative, drug-free approach. Working with Dr. Schwerte, my anxiety has eased significantly and I no longer face the symptoms that plagued me just a year ago.
E.C., San Francisco
To learn more, download the presentation from a recent Seminar on Stress and Health.