Stress Identification and Stress Response
Caregiving to someone with Alzheimer's disease is unavoidable. People with Alzheimer's disease become increasingly dependant on family members for their care as the disease progresses. It is important to be able to identify stress and stressors so that you can take steps that help you cope better.
We are all different. Some of us will find ourselves stressed out about a behavior or situation that other caregivers seem to cope with better. But stress is a universal experience. Stress is normal. It is the way we respond to it that is so important. Recognition of stress is a major step so that we can put coping mechanisms into place to deal with it.
Identify Your Stress Symptoms
3 Stages of Stress Response
Hans Selye identified the relationship between stress and illness. We know that emotional and the physical response to stress is very unpleasant. For caregivers stress can last for long periods of time. When we become chronically stressed we can get sick ourselves. Sick mentally and physically. This should be is easier to see when you apply this model of stress response.
1. The first stage of stress response is alarm. When we experience alarm our bodies go into a state of arousal as our bodies react to the stressors.
2. The second stage of stress response is resistance. Our bodies adapt to the stress but our bodies continue to function at a high level of arousal. The body becomes chronically overactive. It makes us less able to adapt to different circumstances.
3. The third stage of stress response is exhaustion. We are less able to cope with high arousal, we become unable to adapt and so the way the body reacts is by becoming overwhelmed by exhaustion. Exhaustion makes our bodies more susceptible to disease. Common diseases experienced by people who are chronically stressed and exhausted include cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension (high blood pressure)and heart disease, migraines and irritable bowel syndrome.
Recognizing Stress and Stress Response
Over time we, as individuals, tend to have patterns in the way we respond to stress and stressors. So you would think it is easy to spot the signs and symptoms of stress. Sometimes we cannot see "the wood from the trees". It may be that other family members or friends point out to you the tell tale symptoms of stress. If we can recognize what is happening to us we can do something about it.