While stress is part of everyday life and a natural reaction when major change occurs, its impact can be much greater following brain injury.
Stress occurs in response to daily challenges; everything from traffic and noise to relationship problems or money worries. The ‘fight or flight’ response is driven by the sympathetic nervous system, triggering a series of chemical changes which prepare our bodies for a stressful event. For example, if you think you hear someone breaking into your house late at night, it’s likely your body will be mobilised into action – increased heart rate and blood pressure, sweating, dilated pupils and your senses greatly heightened.
While this response is useful in dangerous situations, if our ‘fight or flight’ response is triggered too often as a result of chronic stress, there can be negative effects, including reduced protection from disease and infection, hypertension, heart, liver and kidney conditions and psychological disorders.