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Stress isn’t pleasant and can come from multiple situations: a crisis at work, a fight with a loved one, a missed or approaching assignment deadline.
Stress is the body’s response to an individual’s perception of something possibly threatening that happens in the environment. For example, a woman sees a man running toward her and perceives he could be trying to hurt her, so stress is the result. This can include increased heart rate and energy and racing thoughts. It’s not always a bad thing and can be helpful, but not in high amounts and over a long period of time.
A recent study from a researcher in Canada demonstrates how stress can be detrimental in some cases. In the study, the author is researching a link between higher levels of daily stress in adolescence and development of mood disorders in adulthood. The higher levels of daily stress were found in adolescents in at-risk families, including those who have parents with mood disorders. The researcher believes that stress could be the reasoning behind an increase in depression over the years, especially at a younger age.
An article from Concordia University states:
“Previous studies have shown that kids from at-risk families are at higher risk of having a psychiatric disorder in their lifetime,” said lead researcher Mark Ellenbogen. “We know that they’re not just inheriting these traits but they are also being raised in environment that is stressful, chaotic and lacking in structure. Our goal is to tease out how this type of environment influences these children’s mental health in adolescence and adulthood.”
Although the study is still ongoing and there is no solid link or causal relationship, this is an important consideration for mental health professionals. It seems at-risk children and adolescents are already targeted in many mental health programs, but this could improve how mental health professionals go about understanding and preventing at least mood disorders.