IS STRESS CONTAGIOUS?

Anecdotal evidence indicates that being around a stressed person often makes us feel stressed, while reports from relatives and friends of traumatized soldiers show that they have experienced symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) despite never having been on the battlefield. Additionally, studies involving PTSD sufferers reveal loss of volume in their hippocampus (the part of the brain associated with memory). With this in mind, scientists conducted laboratory experiments to see if being around stressed people can rewire the brains of those in close proximity to them. They found that partners of stressed animals displayed changes in the neurons that control their brains’ response to stress that were identical to the stressed animals. The implications of this finding are far-reaching.
Stress can cause physical, emotional and behavioral disorders. It can affect your health, vitality, and personal and professional relationships. Too much stress can cause relatively minor illnesses like insomnia, backaches, or headaches, and can contribute to potentially life-threatening diseases like high blood pressure and heart disease. Plains Area Mental Health welcomes people of all ages and from all backgrounds. Let us help you. Call one of our offices for an appointment or take one of our free on-line assessments.

P.S. Since the research mentioned above seems to indicate that stress can have a lasting effect on the partners of stressed individuals, couples have every reason to seek treatment for anxiety, stress, and depression for those whom they love.