THE INFLUENCE OF CHRONIC STRESS ON HEALTH AND COPING MECHANISMS
Stress represents a negative life experience, closely followed by physiological, cognitive, emotional, and behavioral changes that focus on changing the event or adapting to its effects. Any situation or occurrence that requires adaptation can be experienced as a stress, even positive situations and circumstances may be stressful, whether they come from the outside world, or the sources of stress is internal. While acute stress does not necessarily have a negative effect, if it lasts for a long time, or is frequently repeated, it becomes chronic, and can cause various serious disorders. During chronic stress, there is an exhaustion of the body's capacity for an adequate reaction, which can lead to long-lasting immunological dysfunction, which significantly impairs health and quality of life. According to the WHO (2017), stress is one of the causes of even 60% known diseases, and in a number of mental disorders a direct connection with stress has been reported: in acute stress reactions, "posttraumatic stress disorder", adjustment disorders and other reactions to severe stress. In addition, in all categories of mental disorders (ICD-10), the stressful situation or event plays a significant role in occurrence of the symptoms. A particular category of stress-related disorders are psychosomatic disorders. These are functional disorders in which there is no pathoanatomic substrate. In contrast to these, psychosomatic diseases are the type of illness in which there are structural changes of tissues and organs, the etiology of which is based on chronic stress, in addition to a number of other factors (Adamović, 1983) and which occur when there is a biological predisposition. The paper presents the mechanism of development of these diseases and some of the ways of coping with stress. According to the DSM-V, psychosomatic diseases are divided into skin diseases, gastrointestinal diseases, respiratory diseases, heart and blood vessel diseases, disorders of endocrine glands, rheumatoid diseases, gynecological diseases and others. In order to overcome stress and preserve health, psychological strategies for coping with stress play an important role. Multiple strategies are used, which include various stress control techniques: relaxation techniques, meditation methods, and assertive training, biofeedback and stress inoculation techniques. Successful mastering of coping stressful situations, constructive problem solving in life crisis, relaxation techniques and contributions to better adaptation to unexpected changes in life are of key importance for both mental and physical health.
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